Celebrate Pasadena Businesses
at Annual Chamber of Commerce Inaugural Gala
Pasadena, CA – The Viennese Ballroom and its Terrace at The Langham Huntington Hotel were the setting for the annual Pasadena Chamber Inaugural Gala on June 24, 2022. 200 guests were treated to appetizers, a hosted bar and jazz by Art Deco Entertainment along with a silent auction.
At 7:30 p.m. guests were ushered into the ballroom for an elegant dinner and festive program. Dinner consisted of an orange tomato gazpacho followed by a filet of beef and grilled salmon with truffled demi-glace and a dessert of vanilla meringue cheesecake with blueberry compote. The meal was accompanied by a selection of California wines.
Guests included State Senator Anthony Portantino, Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo and Pasadena Councilmember Felicia Williams. Former Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard was in attendance as was Interim City Manager Cynthia Kurtz. Other community and business leaders included Hollywood Burbank Airport Executive Director Frank Miller and airport Board member Emily Gabel-Luddy. Retiring Rose Bowl CEO Darryl Dunn and incoming CEO Jens Weiden attended. From the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association future presidents Alex Aghajanian, Ed Morales, Pam Knapp and Craig Washington were joined by Executive Director and CEO David Eads.
Former Pasadena Chamber Board Chairs Dennis Buckley of Health Advantage Physical Medicine, Thomas Daly of Lewis Roca, George Falardeau of Pasadena Media and John Leano of Bryan’s Cleaners joined current and former Chamber Board members at the event. Also in attendance was Maile Plan representing Congresswoman Judy Chu. Dominick Corry also accompanied State Senator Portantino to represent the office.
Outgoing Chair John Leano began the program by offering remarks about his tenure during COVID, saying, “Throughout the pandemic, the Chamber has been a valued resource for the businesses in our community seeking information, support and assistance.”
The festivities continued as State Senator Anthony Portantino swore in Raphael Henderson of Wells Fargo as Chair of the Chamber Board of Directors for 2022-23. In accepting the responsibility, Mr. Henderson noted that, “The past couple of years were more than challenging for the Chamber, our business community and neighbors, but we are slowly finding our normal.”
“What sets us apart, even in a socially distanced and quarantined world, is the one-on-one service the Chamber staff has provided,” Mr. Henderson said. “Members and businesses, large and small, found the Chamber to be the resource they needed.”
Mr. Henderson also noted the Chamber’s efforts to diversify the membership and the Board. “The minority business initiative that we established with the Pasadena Chamber Foundation with significant funding from Chamber member Essence has helped us expand our membership among underserved communities in the greater Pasadena area. We are seeing membership growth as a result.”
Mr. Henderson also noted that 17 of the current Board members are Black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific Islanders or women. “That is more than half of the Chamber Board of Directors,” he said. “46 percent of our board is female. 30 percent are Black, Hispanic, Asian American or Pacific Islanders.”
Mr. Henderson swore in new and returning Pasadena Chamber Board members. New Board members Mike Antenesse of Foothill Unity Center, Lynelle Bryant of Masbuild, Inc. and John Burt of Intelligent Leadership Executive Coaching took the oath as new members of the Board of Directors along with returning members Elizabeth Dever of Fire Family Foundation, Thomas Daly of Lewis Roca, Hope Hayman of Kaiser Permanente and Ed Morales of the Tournament of Roses, an ex-officio member of the Board. Mr. Henderson also administered the oath to the Executive Committee members John Leano of Bryan’s Cleaners, Don Schweitzer of the Schweitzer Law Firm, Nerissa Sugars of Hollywood Burbank Airport, Katelyn Barchowsky of the University Club Pasadena and Charlotte Lacey of Pasadena Humane.
Scholarships were awarded to three students who are matriculating from community college to a four-year college or university. Students chosen are emancipated foster youth with two $2,500 scholarships awarded by the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Foundation. An additional scholarship is provided by Pasadena Chamber member and silver sponsor of the Gala, intellectual property attorneys Lewis Roca. The two Bill Bogaard Scholarships were presented to Jasmine Brown and Jonathan Tirado. The Lewis Roca Scholarship was awarded to Jesse Aguiar.
Mr. Henderson then presented Corporate Citizen of the Year awards on behalf of the Chamber. The Langham Huntington Hotel, Pasadena and the Pasadena Community Foundation were recognized for their longstanding commitment to our community and significant contribution to the economic health and well-being of Pasadena.
A special presentation was made to Darryl Dunn, retiring General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Rose Bowl. In presenting Mr. Dunn with the Director’s Award, Mr. Henderson noted the many memorable events that occurred at the stadium during Mr. Dunn’s 23 years leading the venue as well as his efforts to stabilize relations with the Rose Bowl’s residential neighbors.