Planning for Transition Underway as Organization Begins Second Century

Lorraine ClarnoDid you know that 2024 marks the 100th anniversary of our organization?

Two weeks ago, the W.A.C.E. Board, along with many of the emerging leaders, devoted two days to taking the first step to define our short-term and long-term strategic direction as we separate from the CalChamber as our management provider. It’s an exciting time for W.A.C.E. as we embark on this new century for the organization.

Actions and Outcomes

The Board formed a task force representing chambers across the membership with leadership from Arizona (Colin Diaz – Tempe), California (Jeremy Harris – Long Beach), Colorado (Kami Welch – Arvada), Washington (Lori Mattson – Tri-Cities), Hawaii (Wendy Laros – Kona-Kohala), and Oklahoma (Mike Neal – Tulsa) to explore options to ensure a smooth transition.

Kami Welch will serve as chair. The task force will report its recommendations to the Board of Directors on December 12.

• The transition team will:

√ Develop a job description for a new president and CEO.

√ Scope an RFP for event, administrative support and fiscal management.

• The Board appointed Nancy Hoffman Vanyek (San Fernando Valley, CA) as financial chair to transition our fiscal management and assets from the CalChamber so that we can develop a budget and plan for W.A.C.E.’s future.

• Glenn Morris (Santa Maria Valley, CA) and Ann Hutchison (Fort Collins Area, CO) will review the bylaws and present recommendations that will allow our organization to function effectively and provide the ability to take the necessary next steps.

• Whitney Diver McEvoy (Yountville, CA) and I will work closely with Jennifer Johnson, interim president and CEO for W.A.C.E., and vice chairs to ensure our programming remains on point and operations are managed seamlessly.

Our management agreement with CalChamber officially ends on February 15, 2024. As we embark on this new chapter, your Board is excited about how this change allows W.A.C.E. to maintain and expand its strategic vision, “to enhance and promote the professional growth and competence of chamber of commerce executives.”

We know how vital our organizational purpose is to chambers of all sizes and types throughout the W.A.C.E. membership. We look forward to a stellar 2024 conference, where you will have an opportunity to actively participate in setting our vision for the next 100 years. Watch for conference information coming out in late November. Save the dates — February 7–9, 2024 in Garden Grove, California.

Keeping our members informed and engaged over the next few months is my commitment to you.

Reach out anytime if you have questions, concerns, or input.

Lorraine Clarno, ACE, chair of the board, W.A.C.E., is president/CEO of the Discover Kalispell (MT) Chamber, (406) 407-4144, .