The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce’s new Chair of the Board plans to promote a greater understanding of the city’s business community over the coming year.

Gregory Day, General Manager for Shutters on the Beach Hotel, was elected to the position of Chair of the Board on June 10th for a one-year term. Day leads the Chamber’s Executive Board, a group of nine members including the past and future Chairs, and the Board At Large, an appointed group of 45 individuals that help the Executive Board to set the Chamber’s agenda for the upcoming year.

“My role is to lead both the Executive Board and Board At Large in the processes and procedures that need to be followed in order for our organization to work on behalf of its members,” he said.

As Chair, Day is responsible for setting the agenda in line with the Chamber’s laws and bylaws to best represent the over 1,000 member businesses that make up the organization.

Day is most excited to continue a multi-year plan started by last year’s chair.

“We really wanted to get a 3-year successive platform that each chair could carry a portion forward,” said Day. The plan aims “ensure that the greater public has a better understanding of what the business community does, and why they should care.”

The overarching goal is to enhance the perception of the impact of Santa Monica businesses beyond their traditional roles in trade.

While it is common to associate businesses with employment and selling goods, the reality of what the business community does for the city is far larger, said Day.

“What people don’t think about is that the businesses who pay taxes — that’s how the city is able to function, that is how we have emergency services,” said Day.

The strategy for the Chamber going forward is outreach.

“We haven’t done a good job of simply getting that word out to people,” said Day. “It’s just a matter of educating everybody.”

Events like the Chamber’s annual State of the City gathering help to present an updated profile of the Santa Monica business community, said Day, who noted the growing presence of tech and start-up companies.

“There’s a huge portion of [the Chamber] that are small start-up businesses, and I think [State of the City] opened people’s eyes,” he added.

These events help the Chamber to raise awareness around issues facing local businesses. While each business has it’s own challenges, Day cautioned, “We know we have a serious drought in our state and in our community, and that’s going to touch every business regardless of size.”

The Chamber aims to support local businesses by helping them navigate the city’s policies regarding the drought.

“Part of what the Chamber hopes to do … is ensuring that our businesses know what is coming up, when the penalty phase will start, and what they as businesses can do that they are not doing now in order to take advantage of city and state rebates,” he said.

Despite these challenges, Day believes that Santa Monica is an ideal place for businesses to thrive.

“It is without question a very functioning city,” said Day, “however it’s also a little small town and right on the beach. There’s a lot to like in this particular location.” The Chamber benefits from Santa Monica’s unique location. “What better place to foster a business community…than to be in this environment that has a little bit of everything,” he added.”

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