Event free for Santa Monica residents for the first time ever
By Sam Catanzaro
For the first time ever, the Chamber of Commerce and City of Santa Monica’s State of the City will be free for Santa Monica residents.
“Starting several years ago in discussions with City Managers, we wanted to make sure this event was inclusive and the information that was being provided by the City and the Chamber was available for everyone,” said Laurel Rosen, CEO of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce.
At the January 14 Santa Monica City Council meeting, Mayor Kevin McKeown and Councilmember Greg Morena initiated a request for funds to allow residents to attend State of the City at no cost.
“Would love to see locals and all community stakeholders at this event,” Morena said. “Bring your people, connect with local businesses, community leaders and all who make Santa Monica a world-class destination and the best city of the 21st Century.”
This event, which will take place on Wednesday, February 12, from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the SGI Auditorium in Santa Monica, brings together the business and resident communities to hear about the latest trends and innovations regionally and globally. Mayor McKeown will present the State of the City including the newest initiatives and the economic report of the past year.
“How we’re doing and where we’re going is everybody’s business, and this event can become a place for all Santa Monicans to engage on significant issues,” McKeown said. “At this year’s State of the City, I hope to see a better-than-ever mix of neighborhood businesses and neighborhood residents.”
This year’s theme is Social Impact: Working Together to Shape Our Future as the featuring keynote speaker Mick Ebeling, Founder of Not Impossible Labs, will talk about changing the world through technology and story.
“The theme is all about how everyone must work together to create the kind of city we all want to live and work and play in,” Rosen said. “It’s addressing everybody, everyone’s needs, everyone’s concerns and how do we really make a difference together.”
In addition to Ebeling, the event will showcase presenters who Rosen says “are going to talk about their role and responsibility as some of our largest businesses in the community, and what they feel their responsibilities are to have a positive impact on the city in which they have their businesses.”
These stakeholders include Providence Saint John’s, Santa Monica Place, The Plaza, Optimum Seismic and Pastor Ron Hooks.
“These are some of our larger businesses who actually have a social impact in the community around many different themes. Whether it is homelessness, whether it’s sustainability, whether it is working with youth, whether it is working in education, whatever that is, their conversation is ‘it doesn’t matter who you are, how is everyone doing their part?’,” Rosen said. “How are large businesses in our community understanding the impact they have in the community and what their initiatives are, what they stand for, and what kind of good work that they need to do to enhance our lives and help us thrive.”
While the speakers and those in attendance at the State of the City will come from a diverse range of backgrounds and fields, Rosen hopes that the event will leave people inspired to help tackle many of the issues Santa Monica faces.
“The fact is we have a lot of polarization in our world and every community is facing these issues whether it is around the economic issue of disparity, whether it is homelessness, whether it is health issues, whatever it is, there is a lot of polarization that happens in communities when there are issues that are frustrating everybody. And so it is really finding a way to help people understand their responsibility and also empower them that working together, change does happen,” Rosen said. “We want people to leave inspired and empowered and go out and figure out how they can be part of the solutions we face.”
Learn more and register at smchamber.com/stateofthecity.