CalChamber Engages with Regional Allies

Strengthening Partnerships

Over a couple of weeks in March, the team at the California Chamber of Commerce had the privilege of participating in our allies’ events and advocacy days.

We look forward to these opportunities, and they not only offer our team a chance to provide updates and perspectives on issues and policy proposals, but they also allow us a chance to express our gratitude for the work our regional partners do all year long, working with us to create a stronger business environment.

These interactions underscore our commitment to amplifying the voices of businesses of all sizes and from all regions, and jointly advocating for policies that promote economic growth and prosperity statewide.

San Francisco

On March 14, Ben Golombek, CalChamber’s executive vice president and chief of staff for policy, spoke at the San Francisco Chamber’s annual Sacramento advocacy trip. Golombek’s presentation provided attendees with a comprehensive overview of the legislative landscape, delving into pivotal issues such as the state budget, the impact of primary elections on policy dynamics, and a preview of key legislative agendas.

The San Francisco Chamber, led by President and CEO Rodney Fong, is a crucial stakeholder and partner. Fong was instrumental in the launch of our Big City Chambers Coalition and was instrumental in efforts around last year’s APEC Summit in the city.

Ben Golombek, Rodney Fong
CalChamber EVP and Policy Chief of Staff Ben Golombek (left) and San Francisco Chamber President and CEO Rodney Fong.

Orange County

On March 18, Senior Policy Advocate Ashley Hoffman and I represented the CalChamber at the Orange County Business Council’s (OCBC) Advocacy Summit. We provided updates on CalChamber’s ongoing efforts with the Fix PAGA coalition, emphasizing the importance of reforming the Private Attorneys General Act to foster a fair and balanced legal environment for businesses.

OCBC, led by President and CEO Jeff Ball, is a key regional ally, and as Ashley and I noted in our comments, the Council is steadfast in not only quickly engaging with their elected officials, but most important in driving accountability. Their commitment to not just communicating positions before votes, but in having tough conversations following legislative actions is what makes the Council a force in statewide business advocacy.

Jeff Ball, Ashley Hoffman, Amanda Walsh, Nick Ortiz
From left: Orange County Business Council President and CEO Jeff Ball, CalChamber Senior Policy Advocate Ashley Hoffman, Orange County Business Council Vice President of Government Affairs Amanda Walsh and CalChamber Vice President of Small Business Advocacy Nick Ortiz.

Greater Conejo Valley

Finally, CalChamber President and CEO Jennifer Barrera delivered the keynote address at the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber’s annual Economic Summit on March 20. Barrera’s remarks included a recap and reflection on the previous legislative session, insights on the state’s budget, and an exploration of key policy priorities for the business community in 2024.

Notably, Barrera underscored CalChamber’s emphasis on nurturing the next generation of business and political leaders through initiatives like the Women’s Leadership Council, reaffirming our dedication to fostering inclusivity and diversity within the business ecosystem.

In addition to Barrera’s keynote, a fireside chat between Barrera and Greater Conejo Valley Chamber CEO Danielle Borja provided an interactive platform for dialogue, enabling participants to delve deeper into pressing issues and explore collaborative solutions. This exchange exemplifies the value of partnerships in driving meaningful conversations and advancing shared goals for economic prosperity.

Danielle Borja, Jennifer Barrera
Greater Conejo Valley Chamber CEO Danielle Borja (left) and CalChamber President and CEO Jennifer Barrera.

Immense Value

At the CalChamber, we recognize the immense value of our partnerships with regional and local business allies and chambers of commerce. These collaborations not only amplify our collective voice but also enhance our capacity to advocate for policies that benefit businesses of all sizes across California.

If you’re interested in having a CalChamber speaker at your event or inviting CalChamber to participate in your upcoming advocacy trip, I encourage you to reach out to me. Together, we can continue to strengthen partnerships, drive meaningful change, and create a more vibrant and resilient business environment for all.

Nick Ortiz is the vice president of small business advocacy at the California Chamber of Commerce.

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Nick Ortiz, who joined the California Chamber of Commerce in February 2023, was promoted in October 2023 to head the newly created CalChamber Small Business Policy Center, assuming the role of vice president of small business advocacy. In addition to enhancing the efforts of small business employers to let policy makers know how government requirements affect the day-to-day workings and profitability of small companies, Ortiz continues to serve as an information resource for and CalChamber liaison with local chambers of commerce. Before joining the CalChamber team, Ortiz was president and CEO of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce from April 2015 to February 2023. Ortiz’s previous experience includes positions with the Western States Petroleum Association, PG&E, Assemblywoman Nicole Parra, United Way and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz. See full bio