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The Chamber’s 2010 Installation Dinner: Event Highlights Strong Future

The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce honored outgoing board chair Iao Katagiri of the RAND Corporation for a wonderful year of service and welcomed incoming chair Tom Neary of Morley Builders at the 2010 Installation Dinner on June 10.

“I’m going to be chair of the board, but it’s not really about me at all,” said Neary about the work the Chamber has ahead of it in the coming year. “It’s about the other board members, and our staff, and it’s about our members,”

Chamber President and CEO, Laurel Rosen said Neary brings great things to the Chamber with his leadership. She said he is a man who makes things happen by building positive relationships.

“It’s the small businesses that really need the help,” Neary told the Mirror. “That’s going to be my focus this year – reaching out to the small businesses and helping them grow and find the resources they need through education and whatever it is we can do to help them. We want to help small businesses grow.”

The event was held at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, with a silent auction and networking session held in the courtyard under the giant 100-year-old fig tree and bathed in the setting sunlight off the Pacific.

“It’s been a tough year, it was a tough year before, but we are now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.” said outgoing chair Iao Katagiri to the attending members, “We could not have been as successful as we have been without your support and membership; without your involvement; without your financial support… [But,] don’t sit back and relax,” she added. “We still need you and we’ll need you next year and the year after that.”

Neary thanked Katagiri for her “wonderful” leadership in this last year, and said “it’s been remarkable.”

Santa Monica’s new mayor, Bobby Shriver, and its new city manager, Rod Gould, ducked out of a City Council meeting to drop by and extend support for the Chamber on behalf of the City of Santa Monica.

“Santa Monica takes its relationship with the Chamber of Commerce extremely seriously,” said Gould to the lively crowd. “We thank the Chamber for its many good works on behalf of the City of Santa Monica.”

Chamber President and CEO, Laurel Rosen thanked Shriver and Gould for stopping by and noted that the relationship between the City and the Chamber has never been stronger.

The Installation Dinner is not only a time to recognize the transition in board leadership, but also an occasion to acknowledge other members who have been such a great value to the chamber and the community.

The Roy E. Naylor Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Tom Larmore of Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal (HLKK) Law. Established in 2002, each year this prestigious award honors a Santa Monica business person whose achievements, both in business and in support of the community, are extraordinary.

The Bob Gabriel Community Service Business Award was presented to St. John’s Health Center.

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