A Voice for Business
North San Diego Business Chamber has worked to foster commerce and build community relationships since its founding in 1980 as the Rancho Bernardo Chamber. The past few years have been an exciting time in this diverse region, and the chamber is dedicated to staying relevant to the evolving commercial world. President and CEO Debra Rosen speaks with 92131 Magazine about the chamber’s recent accomplishments and the variety of programs and events the community has to look forward to in the coming months, including San Diego Women’s Week and the brand-new tourism initiative.
When was North San Diego Business Chamber (NSDBC) founded? What is the history behind the chamber?
It was founded in 1980 as the Rancho Bernardo Chamber, then became the San Diego North Chamber in 2005 when it merged with Diamond Gateway. In 2014 it became North San Diego Business Chamber with a new name and brand.
Is the chamber affiliated with a larger umbrella organization?
We’re not affiliated with another organization but we are U.S. Chamber of Commerce accredited. We’re the only 5-star accredited chamber in San Diego County and one of 10 in the State of California.
What is the chamber’s mission, and how do you and the chamber go about fulfilling that mission?
Our mission is “Building Vibrant Communities Through Stronger Commerce.” Everything that we do has to be aligned with the mission and if it is not, we do not do it. Our focus is strong commerce and strong communities.
Name: Debra Rosen
Position in NSDBC: President/CEO
Professional Field: Nonprofit
Education: B.S. Public Administration at SDSU
Interests: Spending time with family, golfing, and boating
Favorite Local Spots and Activities: Staying home, visiting members of the chamber, trying new restaurants, hotels, golf courses, retailers, etc.
What communities does the NSDBC serve? What are the most rewarding aspects of working with those communities?
Our footprint is north of Interstate 8 up to Interstate 78 and from inland to coast. The diversity of the region we serve is fascinating as it covers all business sizes and industries.
What services does the NSDBC provide to members and the community?
We are a business organization that provides strong networking opportunities for our members, a voice on committees that serve the business communities, advocacy for many industries, professional development workshops, and events that are designed for all members.
How did you personally become involved with the NSDBC?
I was recruited in March 2009 to come to the chamber and turn it around.
What is your current role within the organization? What is the most rewarding thing about your role? The most challenging?
As president and CEO, the most rewarding part is my ability to work with businesses, make a difference in the community, and see the results of our team’s hard work. The most challenging part is helping our small business owners navigate through red tape and try to do business in a challenging environment.
Can you tell us a bit about the other officers? What are their backgrounds?
Our board of directors is a diverse group of executive professionals that represent the membership. The diversity of the board is based on company size, industry, geographic location, gender, and ethnicity.
How has the chamber grown and changed over the years?
The chamber has grown exponentially in the past eight years. Our philosophy is “to grow we must stay relevant,” and we reevaluate our programs and benefits each year to keep the chamber relevant to our members.
What are the primary goals of the NSDBC?
Our three-year strategic plan includes the following goals: strengthen membership, retain membership, and grow commerce.
What have been some of the organization’s most memorable events over the years?
San Diego Women’s Week has been our signature event and each year it gets bigger and better. Some of the other significant events are: State of the Region, Leaders of Change, Celebration of Business, and Business Salute to Police and Public Safety.
Can you tell us a bit about the upcoming San Diego Women’s Week? What should the community look forward to this year?
This year’s opening day will be the biggest we have ever had. Tickets are free with pre-registration or $25 at the door. For the complete schedule of events for this day and the rest of week visit www.sdwomensweek.com.
Are there any other exciting new projects, programs, or events coming up soon?
We have one new program launching in 2017 and continued growth with all others. In 2017 the chamber will be launching a new tourism initiative to market the North San Diego region to weekend visitors. One out of every 16 jobs is impacted by the tourism industry and the northern businesses can benefit from a strong targeted marketing effort.
Other newer programs that continue to grow are Emerging Leaders and the Operation Connect Military Transition program.
Emerging Leaders is a group for employees of chamber members in the age range of 28 to 40. This group of emerging leaders is led by an advisory council of their peers and they will have their own networking events, professional development, and social cause to focus on.
Military Transition Council is a program for transitioning military members. This initiative will allow them to attend an interactive class that teaches them how to network and articulate their skillset for the corporate environment. After completing the program they will be given a complimentary six-month membership and encouraged to attend the business networking events. This will be the beginning of their journey to building a circle of influence in the business community.
Can you tell us about any philanthropic or volunteer work the NSDBC is involved with?
The Military Transition Council is our giveback to the military, and we also have our Business Salute to Police and Public Safety. We make a sizeable donation to the Fallen Officers Fund and Camp Beyond the Scars with the Burn Institute.
How would somebody go about joining the NSDBC? What is the criteria for membership?
Any business can join the chamber. Information is on our website at www.sdbusinesschamber.com.
Is there anything else you’d like to share that most people don’t know about the chamber?
With our organization, it is not business as usual. We work to stay relevant with our programs and benefits, making sure that everything we do is applicable to 75% or more of our membership. The organization is relevant to business and stays up-to-date and current with the issues that impact business every day. We have members that are home-based all the way up to large corporations and everyone is treated equally.
Each industry and company size gets something of value out of the chamber programs. It is the chamber team’s goal to make sure every member has been connected with once a month.
If you could grant the chamber one wish, what would it be?
To find an investor that believes in our work and would help us underwrite the Military Transition Initiative so we can open up to more than 20 service personnel each month.
If you had to describe the chamber using only five words, what would you say?
Progressive, connected, and relevant business organization.
North San Diego Business Chamber
Name of Organization: North San Diego Business Chamber
Mailing Address: 10875 Rancho Bernardo Rd.,
San Diego, CA 92127
By the Numbers
Year Founded: 1980
Current Members: 780
Current Officers: 5
Board Members: 20