“Adopt a friend,” the prevailing motto this morning (Feb. 18) at the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce’s Networking Breakfast at Embassy Suites by Hilton, is also the underlying intention of the monthly opportunity event. With nearly 50 attendees walking through the greeted ballroom doors, all were eager to escape the stagnant humidity outside and exchange business cards over enthusing morning batter and a bountiful breakfast.
The guest speaker at this month’s Networking Breakfast sponsored by Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary was Elizabeth Richer Campo, Senior Vice President of the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, who provided encouraging information on the non-profit’s many animal welfare services. Before she took the podium, attendees delighted in the refreshing fruit packed in sugar cones, crispy herb-seasoned potatoes, and hearty breakfast burritos paired with the always welcome spread of hot coffee and chilled juices. Notably celebrated as February’s Arcadia Business Icon was Mark Schaefer Associates LLP, represented by Chamber Secretary-Treasurer Gil Stromsoe, a long-standing partner in the firm as well as a helping hand within the community. The Business Spotlight winner, Chris Vivian of Giggle Fiber, also garnered attention with his three-minute focused speech on the benefits of his company’s local fiber-optic internet service. The array of raffle prizes capped off the morning’s festivities as attendees promoted their business services with sought after donations.
Rod Salazar, Chamber Ambassador and Breakfast host, led the round of the traditional 30-second introductions and reminded attendees to next time “bring a friend and get a free breakfast.” He once again entertained with his customized singing jingle of his Stubbies Promotions, blending it with a popular Beatles tune, uplifting everyone to also speak with such a candid spirit. After introductions, attendees also gave shout-outs to fellow Chamber members with whom they have had a good experience in utilizing their services, recognizing the mutually benefiting close-knit community the Chamber fosters within the greater San Gabriel Valley. Departing Arcadia Chamber CEO Scott Hettrick was especially applauded for the sincere connections he has made with every member. He will be duly missed; he moves to Omaha with his wife Betty next week.
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Guest Speaker Elizabeth Richer Campo of the Pasadena Humane Society
Working in animal welfare for over 11 years, Elizabeth is a certified animal welfare administrator, the highest achievement possible, making her impact upon the Pasadena Humane Society deeply insightful. She shared a brief history of the Humane Society, saying that when first incorporated, it was organized to help children and animals before the city assumed accountability for people (the first adoption was two children). The PHS provides services that range from domestic animal adoptions to addressing wildlife issues to picking up stray neighborhood dogs to safeguarding the city’s resident peacocks. Particularly convenient is the wellness clinic for low cost vaccines and for spaying/neutering pets, offering reduced veterinary care for families. Their “Barks and Books” program boosts children’s confidence by inspiring them to read to a friendly cat or dog. The PHS also offers behavior correction and training in order to support a healthy relationship with owners and pets so that those pets stay with their families and out of shelters. Though the Pasadena Humane Society is an open door facility, Elizabeth asks for the continued help from the community – be responsible pet owners by spaying/neutering pets and by coming to a shelter first when considering a new addition to the household. The non-profit agency is only able to offer the many services it does for animal welfare through the support of its volunteers and donors, making its continued leadership within the community contingent upon the consideration and aid of local residents.
Arcadia Business Icon, Mark Shaefer Associates LLP
Mark Shaefer Associates LLP was honored as the February Arcadia Business Icon after being a renowned and active member within the community since 1959. The management-oriented CPA firm, providing accounting, tax, and consulting services for small and mid-sized companies has also been a member of the Arcadia Chamber for nearly 50 years after joining in 1967. The Arcadia CitiCenter Building at 55 East Huntington Drive was built by the firm and remains one of its major occupants. Gil Stromsoe, Chamber secretary who volunteers with the Rotary Club and Arcadia Historical Society, is a partner in the firm and was the representative to accept the award. He credits the sense of business bestowed upon his partners Jim Schaefer,Wayne Popovich, and himself as deriving from Mark Schaefer—a great mentor and friend to the community. Chamber CEO Scott Hettrick and Arcadia Historical Society President and Vice Presidents Karen Hou, Carol Libby, and Beverly Street presented the award to Gil. Karen, Carol, and Beverly all graciously noted that Gil as the decades-long treasurer for the Historical Society is a “trusted associate” and “blessing” to the organization for his community services and talents. There was not a free hand in the room during the award presentation as attendees applauded with genuine appreciation for the excellence of Gil and Mark Shaefer Associates LLP.
Business Spotlight, Giggle Fiber
Chris Vivian of Giggle Fiber, a fiber-optic internet service provider, instructed the room with conviction about his company’s many advantages. After passing out portable phone chargers to responsive attendees, he detailed that because he is a locally run business in Monrovia and because the company is primarily limited to offering Internet services but not cable TV and telephone, Giggle Fiber offers more bandwidth than anyone else at higher speeds and at a better price. Small and large businesses can utilize Giggle Fiber’s benefits operating at a full gigabit with less than an hour of down time for installation.
Raffle Prizes and Donations
- Sophia Chan of Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary donated a reusable shopping bag, first aid kit, and emergency light that was won by Elizabeth Booth of the Santa Anita Park/LA Turf Club.
- Sue Cook of the Arcadia Performing Arts Foundation contributed two tickets for a show of the winner’s choice that was picked up by Mitchell Salem of EH Financial Group.
- Mike Vercillo, Community Outreach Officer, donated a certificate from the Arcadia Police Department for a private tour of the department, shooting range, and jail for up to twelve guests, which was won by Sue Cook.
- Steve Sciurba of The Kensington Sierra Madre donated a Sierra Madre novelty mug which was won by guest speaker Elizabeth Richard Campo.
- Naomi Briones of Embassy Suites by Hilton contributed a $25 gift certificate to the hotel’s restaurant which was won by Nicole Guerrero of Orbit Event Rentals.
- Suzie Krikorian of ServPro of Arcadia, contributed a bag of goodies and Starbucks gift card (handed over on her behalf by the Chamber’s member recruiter Kristy Thatcher Bradshaw), which was won by Jerry Dominguez of Printing Control.
- Annette Ousterhout of Jan’s Towing donated a coffee mug, merchandise, and Starbucks gift card which was picked up by Joanne Bockian of Stars Athletic Foundation.
- Vicki Knight, Century Rooter Service & Plumbing, contributed a scented candle that was won by Mike Vercillo. She also made the offer of a business showcase table for Taste of Arcadia at last year’s pricing to the first person to take up the deal.
- Emily Li of Blend it Healthy donated two free drinks cards and they were won by Imy Dulake of Coldwell Banker and Stefanie Shook of Two Men and a Truck.
- Mitch Salem offered a $25 gas card to be picked up by Sophia Chan.
- Megan Oppelt, Togo’s Arcadia, donated 10 free sandwich cards or a catered lunch for 10, which was won by Rod Salazar.
The next Networking Breakfast will be held once again at Embassy Suites by Hilton in Arcadia on March 17, 2016, with the featured speaker MJ Finstrom, co-owner of HUTdogs. Tickets to the breakfast, which runs from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m., are $20 in advance ($25 at the door) and discounted to $15 for Chamber members who pay by the previous Friday ($20 at the door for Chamber members). No charge for those holding a Chamber All Access Pass. Tickets: 626-447-2159 or in the “Shop” area at www.ArcadiaCaChamber.org, or at Chamber office, 388 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia, during regular business hours.