The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce will install its new board of directors on Thursday, June 11 at a celebratory gathering at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel. The annual installation dinner will bring together the city’s business leaders and elected officials, while honoring incoming Chamber Board of Directors Chair, RAND Corporation’s Iao Katagiri, along with the other Chamber board members that help the City’s business community thrive.
Laurel Rosen, President of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, said the yearly installation dinner always marks an exciting time for the Chamber community and the community at large.
“This event has been going on for eighty years and it brings some of the strongest leaders in our community together,” Rosen said. “It is so powerful to see all of these people making a commitment to the community, from the volunteers that serve on our board to Mayor Genser and County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.”
Rosen said each new board chair brings new vision to the Chamber. She looks forward to welcoming Katagiri as chair.
“[Katagiri] is a force to be reckoned with and she brings so much to the table,” Rosen said. “RAND Corporation is such a significant business in our community and Iao has served Santa Monica for so many years.”
As Deputy Vice President in the Office of External Affairs, and Director of Community Relations for RAND Corporation, Katagiri is responsible for community and local governmental relations for RAND’s headquarters in Santa Monica. She joined RAND in 1975 as a researcher with the company’s low-income housing study, the Housing Allowance Supply Experiment. In 1980, she helped establish RAND’s Institute for Civil Justice, a policy research effort funded by the private for-profit sector that still operates today. In 1988, Katagiri began her involvement with local governmental relations and external affairs for RAND’s headquarters. She is the principal contact at RAND for the local community. She is also involved in governance, program development, and fund development for many community-based nonprofit organizations. She sits on the board of directors for the Santa Monica Police Activities League, the Westside Food Bank, and the Center for Healthy Aging, to name a few.
A current board member for the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, Katagiri looks forward to transitioning into a leadership role.
“There is a significant level of responsibility that comes with the chair position, especially in this economic climate,” Katagiri said. “The chair and the president of the chamber must work together to come up with programs that really add value for our members in exchange for their membership fees.”
She went on to say that the combination of Rosen’s background in the retail sector and her background in the non-profit world will make the two a strong pair.
“Laurel knows so much about marketing and business development and I bring non-profit and analytical skills into the equation,” Katagiri said.
The RAND Corporation has been a Chamber member since 1949 and continues to be a thriving business in Santa Monica.
As for outgoing chair, Paul Hortobagyi, Rosen said she can’t thank him enough for the work he has done over the last year.
“Paul has given the Chamber so much energy and support,” Rosen said. “He has stepped up to the plate to be a leader during this tough economic climate.”