Chamber Names New Executive Director

Citrus Heights, CA  |  Story and photos by Jacqueline Fox
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Cendrinne DeMattei, Executive Director, Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG) - Cendrinne DeMattei officially assumed her role as Executive Director of the Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce in November, however, she’s served in the positon since spring following her predecessor’s abrupt departure.  As the Chamber prepares to turn 60 and inaugurate a new president in January, membership is up from 260 in March to 285.  Changes are already in place with respect to communication and there are plans for adding a signature event and Chamber festival.   DeMattei recently shared with reporter Jacqueline Fox her plans for keeping momentum going and taking the chamber forward.

Q: Why did you want this position?
A: Two reasons. I felt that it would allow me to utilize all the skills and experience I have, and I love to be an agent of change and possibilitiesAlso, I’d already been a member and served on its education committee for three years, so I know it has value and purpose.

Q: With the Internet and social media so prevalent, is the chamber still relevant?
A: Yes, more than ever. Networking is a huge part of membership and business growth depends on it.  In particular, with so many home-based businesses out there the need for accountability and social interaction and platform for promoting their businesses is greater than ever.

Q: What is the Chamber’s current membership and what’s been done to increase it?
A: We’ve been successful in boosting our membership from 260 to 285 in the last year.  We put in a concentrated effort to enhance the communication to business owners in the city about the benefits of being a member and showing its value.  We also put a lot of energy into reaching out to entrepreneurs who need a chamber more than anything because many are one-man or one-woman teams who can benefit from a network.”

Q: What is the composition of the Chamber’s membership?
A: Roughly 65 percent of our members are small business owners with fewer than 10 employees.  We are seeing a continuation of that trend, but also a growth in the number of women-owned small businesses.

Q: What does your job entail?
A: My job is to implement what the board wants.  I was brought on to provide continuity and consistency for the remainder of 2018 and, as the board meets to define and design goals for three to five years out, I will be tasked with implementing programs and projects to support them.

Q: What changes have you implemented since spring?
A: We have revived the printed membership directory for one thing, which is something that a lot of our members said they wanted.  I’m also putting the finishing touches on a new, bi-monthly e-newsletter that will feature photos from events, information about upcoming monthly meetings and spotlights on chamber members.  Also, we revived the new member orientations to engage and retain members.  We use the platform for the orientations to both leverage our connections within the city and the business community, and second, we offer new members an opportunity to ask us questions and tell us what it is we can do for them.  We will hold one in March and a second one each fall.

Q: What are your own plans for expanding and retaining membership?
A: I’d like to keep the momentum going with our partnership with the city to train future entrepreneurs through our leadership program and bring them is as new members.  We also have goals to increase attendance at our own events by making sure the subject matter pertains to members’ needs.  We want our events to showcase their businesses and give them tools they need.  We also are increasing our use of social media to highlight our activities and use it as a promotional tool for our members.  So our hope is that our members will share their positive experiences and pass those experiences on to their own contacts and associates. Also, we are looking at adding a signature event in the fall that reflects the culture and profile make up of our membership and aligns with the city’s new branding to convey Citrus Heights as a business friendly destination city where it is as much fun to work as it is to live and play.

Q: Your Chamber is preparing to install new leadership.  What will that look like?
A: We have Amanda Blackwood from Stones Gambling Hall coming in January to take over as the new board president.  Right now the board is very focused on bringing in diversity in terms of occupation, business size and experience and industries to create a culture whereby new ideas and new ways of doing things are embraced.  We are in a period of change. The chamber is looking at its 60th year in January, so we see the year ahead as a fresh new beginning, with a new president, new board members and tasking ourselves with bigger and better events.

Q: What makes Citrus Heights a great place to do business?

A: I’m invested in this community and have been for years.  I remember when they built Sunrise Mall and I’ve watched the economic growth and seen the city evolve into a solid, mature and appealing community. So I’m excited to see more new events and a more engaged membership base that will attract other businesses to the area.