Chamber of Commerce Eyes Future With New Leadership

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There’s a new gavel-holder in town: Christine Hameline, the 2014 chairwoman for the Malibu Chamber of Commerce. 

The Chamber ushered in Hameline for a one-year term last Friday during a crowded ceremony and luncheon at Pepperdine University’s Graziado Executive Center attended by more than 100 Malibu business and community stakeholders. 

“My vision is to further facilitate engagement from our Malibu community, to encourage all our businesses to plug-in to our Chamber—for example, through our education opportunities, supporting local businesses through Shop the Bu, joining our Governmental Affairs Committee and working on advocacy to support our membership,” Hameline told The Malibu Times

Hameline’s inauguration also featured the installation of the Chamber’s 2014 Board of Directors and the presentation of several leadership awards. 

Heidi Bernard, executive director of the Crest Associates at Pepperdine, was honored as the “Chamber Volunteer of the Year” for her assistance at events and influential leadership. Bernard is also a past Chamber chairwoman. Locals Dan and Carole Stark received recognition as “Malibu Community Ambassadors” and DJ Brett Elliott was named the “Small Business of the Year.” 

After opening a third Malibu branch last year at the Trancas Market Center, Wells Fargo Bank was honored for “Excellence in Leadership.” Duke’s Malibu was named the Chamber’s “Outstanding Partner of the Year” for hosting the 10th Annual Taste of Malibu event in collaboration with the Chamber. 

Hameline, who founded RE/ MAX ELITE in Malibu five years ago, has been involved with the Chamber of Commerce for four years and manages the organization’s sister cities program with China. 

Though it was too early to lay out specific goals, the new chairwoman said she hopes to strengthen Malibu’s business community and strengthen the Chamber’s relationship with City Hall. 

Hameline’s new beginning marked a symbolic ending for the outgoing Beth Pearcey-Neal, who served as the 2013 Chamber chairwoman. 

Pearcey-Neal said she made it her goal in 2013 to help Malibu businesses profit from the coastal city’s seaside popularity, and the millions of visitors who come through Malibu every summer are a key to that success. 

“It [was] my job to convert those [visits] into sales,” she said. Pearcey-Neal works as a marketing director for the Malibu Golf Club. 

She recalled the organization’s many successes in 2013, including a picnic honoring Malibu’s emergency first-responders, a “decade of decadence” with the 10th Annual Taste of Malibu event, the Chamber’s annual golf tournament, the Malibu Arts Festival and the Veteran’s Day ceremony at Legacy Park. 

Pearcey-Neal plans on remaining heavily involved with the Chamber and continuing organizing an ongoing seminar series where the Chamber asks an expert in a certain field to conduct a tutorial. The Chamber then posts the educational seminar on its website. 

The Chamber is also organizing an Emergency Preparedness Network to train local business owners on how to plan for emergencies and natural disasters. 

Since being founded in 1948, when the group went by the Malibu Businessmen’s Association, the Malibu Chamber of Commerce has grown to 360 members. Pearcey- Neal called the Chamber “the best agency of Malibu” and a necessary tool for small business owners in Malibu who want to see their operations thrive. 

The Chamber has chimed in on several political issues in the past, including a proposal to regulate chain stores in Malibu’s Civic Center. When the proposed chain store ordinance began making waves in 2012, the Chamber urged its members to oppose any regulations be imposed on local businesses. A watered-down draft version of the ordinance was eventually approved by the Malibu City Council, along with a proposal to draft a specific plan for the Civic Center. 

To learn more about the Malibu Chamber of Commerce, visit malibu.org.