Dear Members of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce,
What a year it has been!
When I started off at the beginning of this historic 100th anniversary year of the Hollywood Chamber, I shared how thrilled and humbled I was to become Chair of the Board of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. As we bid this fiscal year adieu, I still feel the same sense of awe to have led this incredible organization in the world’s most famous community.
A dream come true: 20 years in the making. My beginnings in Hollywood were humble, to be sure! After graduating from college, I moved across the country to a tiny apartment at the corner of Franklin and La Brea. After a couple of years of barely making ends meet, I serendipitously landed in commercial real estate. Without any business connections, I joined the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and quickly formed a meaningful network. I even sold my first listing through a connection I made at the Economic Development Committee. Since that time, my team has helped attract, retain and expand many of Hollywood’s most significant stakeholders. Through it all, the people and connections I have made through the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, including the staff, the board, and many of its members, have become family.
This last year brought us many unprecedented challenges in Hollywood, including navigating re-entry through Delta and Omicron surges. We were also faced with a leadership transition and the search for a new CEO. With the support of our incredible staff and board leadership, I quickly leaned in and assumed many of the duties of the CEO position as a volunteer. Thankfully our past President and CEO of 26 years, Leron Gubler, was gracious enough to return from retirement to serve as our President Emeritus during the CEO search process. Kudos to Leron (and his family) for accepting the call to duty – we couldn’t have done this without you! Huge shout out to my husband Marty (we met in Hollywood and celebrated our 10th anniversary this year) and our little ones Pierce and Stevie, who supported me on this journey, even when I spent most of our family vacation dealing with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce business! Not to mention my incredible colleagues at JLL, including Carl, Capriccia, Caitlyn, Dana, Carl, Hayley, and Pete, aka Team Hollywood, who continue to shine as the best commercial real estate team in the business. Thank you all!
Even through our most challenging times, we emerged with many bright moments:
- We hired a new CEO: visionary business leader David Michael Jerome. His commitment to transforming businesses and improving lives will help us elevate the Hollywood experience for all. He starts on April 18th, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for Hollywood with his leadership!
- Hollywood Walk of Fame: After a long hiatus due to COVID, our incredible team led by Walk of Fame Producer Ana Martinez and Director of Business Development Lily Weiner, we brought back live ceremonies to Hollywood Boulevard. We celebrated over 20 Walk of Fame recipients: Highlights included Red Hot Chili Peppers, Missy Elliot, Daniel Craig, Salma Hayek, and Francis Ford Coppola. If you haven’t checked it out yet, our own President Emeritus Leron Gubler wrote the book on it – Walk of Dreams (click here to get it from Amazon today!). Another fun way to enjoy our Walk of Famers – is this Spotify playlist. We couldn’t be more proud of this world-famous landmark that the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce created over 60 years ago!
- Hollywood Sign: After the historic L.A. Rams Super Bowl win, the Hollywood Sign was temporarily transformed into “Rams House.” This was an unprecedented achievement requiring coordination with multiple City agencies and the Hollywood Sign Trust. Many thanks to our new Vice-Chair of Licensing, Jerry Neuman, for his outstanding leadership in this effort.
- New Members: Even in uncertain times, the Hollywood Chamber created value for businesses of all sizes. We welcomed 142 new members – including 27 in March 2022 alone. This is close to 2x the number of members that joined in the previous year! Of our many new amazing members, we are happy to announce that the L.A. Rams and L.A. Kings have joined. Thank you to our VP of Membership Lex Pavlovic for your continued dedication and success.
- In-Person Events: With great care and coordination, we re-introduced in-person membership events, including mixer and lunch hustles. We also hosted the State of Hollywood event, our first premiere event since February 2020. Thank you to Executive Vice President Kaylee Kiecker and Director of Events Chloe Kim for working tirelessly to bring our members these much-anticipated event experiences.
- Advocacy and Redistricting: The core business areas of Hollywood were in jeopardy of being redistricted out of Council District 13. Concerned about losing the momentum of positive development that has been championed by CD 13 Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce quickly mobilized to advocate on behalf of Hollywood businesses during the Redistricting process. We are happy to report that not only we were successful in maintaining the core business areas, but additional business areas were added to CD13. I also want to give a shout-out to staffer Noelani Leal, who has been outstanding in keeping our economic development and legislative action efforts on track.
- Political Action: Our Chamber Political Action Committee, chaired by Aaron Green, continues its work to review all area races and to endorse candidates who advocate for policies benefitting our membership.
- Hollywood Community Foundation: Chair Dwayne Gathers and the Community Foundation held a very successful (albeit virtual) Heroes of Hollywood event, which raised money that allowed the Foundation to give out $48,500 in grants to 26 Hollywood nonprofits.
- LA Pride: We are so excited to have L.A. Pride back to its home in Hollywood this year, with the Pride Parade happening on Sunday, June 12th. This year’s theme is Love Your Pride, and we proudly welcome and celebrate our LGBTQ+ community during LA Pride week and all year round!
Now we enter a new chapter in our Hollywood story. I am honored to “pass the gavel” to my friend and fellow Hollywood Chamber of Commerce leader, Lupita Sanchez Cornejo. Not only has she built an impressive career at AT&T for the past 20 years, but she has been a wonderful partner during these challenging times. She is also an incredible inspiration as a working mother and champion for diverse communities as Lupita becomes the first woman of color and first Latino/a to chair the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in its 100-year history. I am confident that with Lupita’s leadership, we will continue to advance a dynamic business climate and elevate the Hollywood experience for all!
Thank you for your continued membership. I have been honored to serve this community, which also happens to be the world’s most famous location, brand, and state of mind: Hollywood.
Chair of the Board 2021-2022