Complete with a Santa Monica-inspired rap performance performed by improv comedians “Those Klein Boys” from local comedy club The Crow, the Chamber of Commerce held one of its first events under new CEO Judy Kruger this week, bringing together business leaders from around the City to discuss the future of business in Santa Monica in the wake of the pandemic.

“We are proud and honored to have [Judy],” Chairman of the Board Greg Morena said at the event. “She comes with a depth of experience that is just so unique and perfect to what we need right now in the City.”

Since Kruger came into the position several months ago she said the Chamber has been working on a new strategic plan, which she introduced at the event. “We came up with three impact pillars that I think are going to guide us well over the next year,” she said. The pillars include building the chamber’s brand through strong advocacy and policy programs, broadening and diversifying membership with more networking events and greater engagement with local communities as well as international partners.

Four panelists also weighed in on the discussion of the City’s business future: City Manager David White, Laemmle Theaters President Greg Laemmle, Quantgene CFO Jo Bhakdi and Snap Inc. Public Policy Manager Jasson Crockett. Although each represented very different backgrounds and sectors, all expressed hope about the future of business in Santa Monica.

“There are lots of things that we’ve seen and done through the course of the pandemic, lots of new ways of regulating businesses and bringing businesses in,” White said. “And we’ve worked very hard to turn those innovations during the pandemic into permanent new ways of doing business here, and it’s keeping that flexible mindset as we move forward that’s going to help us continue to have a very robust economy in the City.”

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