FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :CHICO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP TRANSITION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chair, Chamber Board of Directors
CHICO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP TRANSITION
The Chico Chamber of Commerce announced today an upcoming change in executive leadership. Chamber President & CEO, Katie Simmons, has accepted a Vice President position with the Associated General Contractors of California, headquartered in Sacramento, beginning November of 2018. Her final day at the helm of the Chamber will be November 2nd. She and her family will remain based in Chico.
Simmons joined the Chico Chamber staff in 2011 and became President & CEO the following year. During her tenure, she successfully led the Chamber through a transition that shifted the organization from a traditional events-based fundraising model to a strong advocacy-based business association led by a Community Vision.
Working closely with the Board of Directors, Simmons helped shape the Chamber’s Community Vision with feedback from listening sessions with local employers representing more than 17,000 jobs. The Community Vision focuses the Chamber’s advocacy efforts in 5 key areas – thriving businesses, healthy local government, public safety, premier arts and recreation facilities, and quality of life – a groundbreaking and comprehensive approach to business retention and growth.
Running the Chamber through lean economic times in Chico led Simmons to participate in the creation of the public-private economic development collaborative, Team Chico, with the City of Chico, 3CORE, DCBA, Alliance for Workforce Development, Chico State, and Butte College. Team Chico is the recipient of two statewide awards for excellence in economic development.
With public safety listed as the Chamber’s #1 advocacy priority, Simmons spent years supporting the Chico Police Department’s efforts to implement a community-oriented policing model. With Team Chico, she hosted dozens of Community Safety Meetings, business walks, and property walks, and initiated effective programs like Retail Watch with the Chico PD and DCBA.
Simmons helped set the stage for community improvements that will have lasting positive impacts including the installation of safety cameras on a bike path in west Chico which led to similar projects in other public spaces. She appeared at numerous City Council meetings through the years advocating for restorative police staffing and proactive policing, regularly voiced public safety concerns with the California Chamber of Commerce, and was a founding member of the Beautiful, Clean & Safe action group. She has also overseen the Chamber’s programs and operations as a whole, ensuring relevance and impact throughout all platforms.
During her time at the Chamber, Simmons served on the boards of the Downtown Chico Business Association, Alliance for Workforce Development, University Advisory Board, Western Association of Chamber Executives, and Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, most recently Chairing the national Urgent Response Task Force. She became a sought-after Chamber conference speaker and consultant.
Chamber Board Chair, Anastacia Snyder, credits Simmons with ‘putting the Chico Chamber on the map’ across the state of California, saying, “Because of the impressive collaborative programs made possible by the Chamber with Katie at the helm, the Chico Chamber of Commerce has become a statewide model of successful advocacy on behalf of businesses and public safety.” She continues, “Her tireless efforts have made a positive difference in Chico and now throughout many cities in California. We are grateful for her steady and thoughtful leadership over the years.”
Reflecting on her time as CEO, Simmons says, “It has been a remarkable honor to serve in this role over the last several years. I’m proud of the work the Chico Chamber has done and I’m excited to see that momentum continue. Chico has an incredibly dedicated business community and my greatest satisfaction has always come from the willingness of business leaders to dedicate their valuable time and investment to the hard work of their Chamber. Our impact represents a genuine team effort and I know that commitment will continue.”
During the search for Simmons’ successor, Kelsey Torres, Associate Vice President, will serve as interim President & CEO. Kelsey joined the Chamber team as AVP in 2016. More on the search for a permanent President & CEO is forthcoming.