Chamber of Commerce Looks To Future

Lenise Sorén

With a mission statement: “To continue to blend community, artistry and wellness in Malibu,” the Malibu Chamber of Commerce has elected a new board and hopes to bring some exciting new happenings to the city.  

Lenise Sorén of SorenityRocksMalibu was elected late June as the chamber’s new chairman with a unanimous vote by the board, replacing longtime chairman Rod Bergen, who served on the board for many years.

Bergen resigned, one in a list of resignations that also included Marshall Thompson, Sophia Kidian, Buzz Cadenhead and Rea Miller.

Seven new board members have also been elected in recent months.  

Chamber CEO Barbara Bruderlin commented on that fact that seven new members have been elected to the board in the past two months, saying it was a positive move.

“Some people had been waiting to get on the board for a while,” Brunderlin said. “Everybody is young, professional. They’re so brilliant.” 

One new board member is James (Jimmy) Chavez from Duke’s Malibu. A seasoned professional and longstanding member, David Reznick, will stay on board. Right now the Malibu Chamber of Commerce has more than 400 members.

“We want an ever changing, young professional board to carry on — keep growing. You have to keep growing, right?” Bruderlin said. “We’ve been working hard.  We plan on being at 500 by the end of the year. That’s our goal. I’m so excited about it.”

It appears that alongside new lifeblood to run the chamber, changes are happening immediately, with a new location easily accessible to the public in the Malibu Lumberyard shopping center that should be open by July 1. The chamber calls it its first ever Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.

Another imminent change is the rescheduling of the long running Malibu Arts Festival.  This year’s 46th annual event will be occurring sometime this fall to take advantage of better weather.  With a date for the festival still to be announced, Sorén, who produced a wellness village at the festival last year, explained the reasons behind the changes. 

“What I experienced, as well as many of the artisans was  — well, we thought it would be better received when it was cooler,” Sorén described. “It was very hot and a lot of the Malibu residents are gone for the summer. So, what we all felt as a board was, it would be more efficient and much more well received and attended if we did it in the fall. It would also ensure the kids are back at school and to be able to have more kids involved and artisans and crafters.”

In the coming weeks, the chamber said it will announce dates for its new events as personnel settle into new digs, described by Bruderlin as “gorgeous.” 

“The visitor’s center is in a prime location in the Lumberyard,” Bruderlin said. “It’s next to Café Habana, where people arrive. It’s going to have visibility from the back and front, so visitors will be able to find it easily. It’s really beautiful. It opens up onto the main Lumberyard courtyard with those big, tall, gorgeous freestanding aquariums.  It has double doors and all glass in the front with beautiful blond wood plank flooring. We’re going to have a visitor’s center that really represents what Malibu deserves.

“Hopefully we’ll not only be featuring local businesses, but local artists in there, too,” she continued. “We’re so excited.  We have the most wonderful board and we’re just thrilled.” 

On July 11, the chamber will hold a mixer at Burger-Fi. On July 12, local, well-known architect Doug Burdge will speak at a Connections Breakfast for the chamber at Paradise Cove at 8 a.m.

“We’re focusing on the success of the new location and a new board and the new website in supporting the community of Malibu and seeing how we can grow as a community and the businesses within the community,” Sorén told The Malibu Times. “Right now, we’re focusing on the new location and the chemistry of the new board.  We’re working all together and we have a great new board of passionate professionals who love Malibu and have a great variety of background and expertise.”