The Erin Slattery House is Excited to Lead the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce
Erin Slattery just completed her first month as president and CEO of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, but her family has been part of the community for generations.
A 1994 graduate of Laguna Beach High, Slattery joined the local chamber as events and marketing manager earlier this year. She succeeded Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold as president of the organization.
Hornbuckle-Arnold, a member of the chamber’s board of directors, had served in the interim post after the resignation of Sandy Morales.
Although her time working for the organization was short, Slattery said previous work experience helped prepare her for what lay ahead. She learned to handle a variety of roles while working under Darrcy Loveland with the Laguna Beach Community Foundation.
She has also worked on major events with the Ocean Institute in Dana Point and the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.
“We’re just trying to let our members know that we’re here for them again and what they’ve lacked support for the past two years in terms of their marketing, we’re here again,” Slattery said. about the Chamber’s activity in emerging from the coronavirus pandemic.
“However, we have played a very important role in COVID to get many restaurants their spaces open, such as with the Promenade [on Forest]and be able to obtain these temporary permits.
Slattery said it was his responsibility to cultivate relationships with city council members and city staff and to advocate for the Laguna Beach small business owner.
There are now nearly 300 members in the Chamber, said Slattery, who attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Laguna Canyon Winery Thursday night.
“I will definitely be advocating on behalf of our small businesses to keep outdoor dining,” Slattery said, adding that her advocacy will extend beyond those businesses on the Promenade. “Of course, the long-term problem is parking. We always have parking problems in Laguna. It’s not going away just because we’re removing two parking spots to provide more outdoor dining.
“It’s a much bigger problem that we need to find a solution for with parking structures, either on the outskirts of the city or inside the city.”
The availability of public restrooms away from downtown was also a concern raised by House members, Slattery said.
“There were good candidates [for Chamber president and CEO], but Erin was hungrier,” said JJ Ballesteros, who is in his fourth and final year as chairman of the House Board of Trustees. “She really wanted the job. She understood very well everything she did in her position.
“The board was fortunate to see Erin working. She was at all of our board meetings and events, and they had an insight and a chance to see her work ethic and passion. When it came time to decide, I know Paula was very keen on it, and I was also in the same position, which I think it would probably be in the interest of the House to have [Slattery] take the job. »
A few additional hires have also been made to provide support staff for Slattery, Ballesteros added.
Lang Park is named after Slattery’s grandfather, Frederick Lang, a well-known landscape architect and conservationist.
“I’m so excited to be able to be part of this community that I grew up in, that I love, and to be able to support businesses,” Slattery said. “It’s amazing to be able to be part of this organization and show the strength that small businesses can have when they work together.”
The Chamber is co-sponsoring a forum for Laguna Beach City Council candidates Sept. 15 at City Hall. The Taste of Laguna food and music festival, a fundraiser featuring food from local restaurants, will take place on October 13.
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