The Poway Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1951. Since then the organization has been dedicated to expanding opportunities for learning and growth in Poway’s business community and beyond. In addition to regular networking mixers, marketing opportunities, and education workshops, the Chamber hosts popular local events like the Mickey Cafagna Memorial Golf Classic and the Spring Family Festival. We spoke with President and CEO Dolores Canizales about the Chamber’s history, upcoming events, and her goals for the future of Powegian prosperity.
Q&A with Poway Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dolores Canizales
What is the history behind the Poway Chamber of Commerce?
The idea of forming a business group to accomplish set goals for the community was verbalized on April 7, 1950. The Chamber was established in 1951. John Kent served as first Poway Chamber chairman of the board, and in 1954 he appointed the first water committee which successfully brought water from Colorado to Poway.
Is the chamber affiliated with a larger umbrella organization?
What is the chamber’s mission, and how do you and the chamber go about fulfilling that mission?
To strengthen prosperity for members and the business community by providing leadership, education, and advocacy.
What communities does the Poway Chamber serve?
The Poway Chamber is a membership organization, and while the majority – approximately 65 percent – of our members are from Poway, the remainder are from Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Peñasquitos, Sabre Springs, Carmel Mountain, Scripps Ranch, Mira Mesa, Escondido, and San Diego.
The chamber serves as a referral service by providing business, tourism, and general community information to residents and visitors. The Chamber sponsors the annual Spring Family Festival and other events throughout the year for both the business and residential communities. Chamber Report is the Chamber’s weekly e-newsletter distributed to 1,500 residents and businesses in the region, and it provides information about Chamber and community events.
How did you personally become involved with the Poway Chamber of Commerce?
I moved to San Diego from Los Angeles due to my husband being promoted within his agency. When I began to look for work, I was immediately hired by the Poway Chamber.
What is your current role within the organization, and what duties does it entail?
I am the president and CEO, and as the chamber’s leader I am responsible for operations, marketing, leadership development, fundraising, advocacy, membership development, and all special events.
Name: Dolores Canizales
Position: President and CEO
Profession: Executive Director
Community: Rancho Bernardo
Education: B.A. Public Relations
Interests: Reading, exploring San Diego, spending time with family and friends
What is the most rewarding thing about your role? The most challenging?
I decided to take on the role as president and CEO of the Chamber because I knew I could bring years of chamber of commerce experience to the organization, and this position would also allow me to give back to my new community. Due to the recession, the chamber was in need of rebranding and restructuring. I am proud of the work I have accomplished over the last three years in the areas of marketing and leadership development.
During my first year I implemented the redesign of the chamber logo, website, and materials while reducing operating expenses significantly. I’ve recently established a new communications team composed of board members working to develop an overall communications strategy. However, my greatest accomplishment has been in the area of leadership development by bringing together a high-quality, forward-thinking board of directors. This new team brings energy, commitment, years of experience, and a diverse background that will lead the chamber into the future.
My challenges continue to be increasing membership and getting more businesses involved on committees that focus on business advocacy, such as government relations, economic development, and education.
“This new team brings energy, commitment, years of experience, and a diverse background that will lead the chamber into the future.”
What are the primary goals of the Poway Chamber of Commerce?
Besides our events, mixers, and educational programs, the Poway Chamber will take a much more active role in advocating for business through the government affairs committee. In addition to the ex-officio seat for a representative from the City of Poway, the chamber recently added two ex-officio seats to the board to include a representative from Poway Unified School District and a representative from a local civic organization. This new holistic approach and chamber leadership philosophy concludes that if the community is healthy, the business community will prosper, and if the business community is prosperous, the community will benefit.
Poway Chamber of Commerce By The Numbers
1951 Year Founded
365 Current Members
4 Current Officers
18 Board Members
Can you tell us about the Chamber’s Spring Family Festival?
The Spring Family Festival is a wonderful event that bring together residents, families, music, food, and business vendors. After months of planning, volunteers gather at 5 a.m. on a cold and dark morning in April on an empty Midland Rd. Five hours later, at 10 a.m. the entire street comes alive with food, vendors, a community stage, a main stage, a car show, and a kids’ area for families and children. It’s a fantastic day in the community. Every year the festival averages close to 200 food, business, and art and crafts vendors. The next festival will be held on April 3, 2016.
Can you tell us a bit about any stand-out recent events?
Two years ago we started the Mickey Cafagna Memorial Golf Classic at Maderas Country Club, and the first two tournaments were a great success. We are now planning the next tournament for March 4, 2016.
Are there any other exciting new projects, programs, or events coming up soon?
The Chamber partnered with the City of Poway and held a Business Roundtable discussion in September. About 50 participants discussed issues impacting business. Primary issues discussed were signage, zoning, marketing, parking, and beautification of Poway Rd. Chamber leadership will work to address these issues. In November the Chamber had a follow-up meeting to discuss changes to the current signage municipal code on Poway Rd. and in the business park.
Poway Chamber of Commerce Services and Opportunities
Networking and Marketing
- Connections Groups: Second and fourth Tuesday of the month
- Monthly Mixers: Last Thursday of every month
- Business Expo: October
- Spring Family Festival: April 3, 2016
- Golf Tournament: March 4, 2016
- Serving on various committees
- Listing in Business Directory
- Free bold listing in Poway phonebook
- Ribbon-cutting ceremonies
- Member-2-Member Discounts, Hot Deals, Chamber referrals
- Marketing collateral and literature displays at Chamber office
- Marketing and Technology Series
- Lunch & Learns: talks on various business topics
- Morning Buzz: professional development
- Candidates Forums
- Employers Group/Learning Center: human resources consulting
- Membership Orientations: for members and non-members interested in learning more about the Poway Chamber
Other Chamber Resources
- Certificates of Origin
- SCORE Business Counseling
- Small Business Development Center workshop
- Advertising and sponsorship opportunities
Can you tell us about any philanthropic or volunteer work the Chamber is involved with?
The Chamber supports local civic volunteer groups by promoting community events through our weekly newsletter distributed to over 1,500 subscribers. We work closely with Poway Unified School District, and most recently the Chamber donated funds to Abraxas for their community garden. A portion of the proceeds from the golf tournament is and will be donated to a local nonprofit every year.
Executive & Finance
Festivals and Special Events
Dues & Rates
Business Park signage
How would somebody go about joining the Poway Chamber of Commerce?
Membership information is available on the Chamber website at www.poway.com. I encourage all prospective members to visit the website and attend any Chamber event. We know that Chamber membership quickly pays for itself and getting involved is a great way to learn more about the Chamber. The Chamber also offers a 90-day money back guarantee.
“…If the community is healthy, the business community will prosper, and if the business community is prosperous, the community will benefit.”
Is there anything else you’d like to share that most people don’t know about the Chamber?
The Chamber recently moved to Midland Rd. and we offer a variety of tourism, visitor, and general information. I encourage the community to shop www.poway.com, and when you are looking for a particular business please go the Chamber directory and support our local Chamber members.
If you could grant the Chamber one wish, what would it be?
My wish would be for every business in Poway to join the Chamber.
If you had to describe the Chamber using only five words, what would they be?
Networking, leadership, advocacy, community, referrals.
Is there anything else you would like to add for our 92064 Magazine readers?
Studies indicate that Chamber membership signifies that a company is trustworthy, involved in the community, and a leader in local business. The Chamber offers a wide variety of opportunities for you and your business to be involved in the community and to help you grow your business.
Poway Chamber At-A-Glance
Name of Organization: Poway Chamber of Commerce
Mailing Address: 14005-B Midland Rd.
Meeting Location: 14005-B Midland Rd.
Phone Number: 858-521-9241
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
2015-2016 Board of Directors
Anita Edmondson, Green Valley Civic Association
Art Gladue, Walmart
Bob Krans, Kiwanis Club – Poway
Cathy Peterson, Chairwoman of the Board, Farmers Insurance
Cynthia Elizondo, Karen Pado & Associates
Dan Meyer, EDCO
Debi Klingner, Chief Finance Officer, SBF Payroll Services
Dennis Gargegnani, General Atomics
Dolores Canizales, President and CEO, Poway Chamber of Commerce
Jack Cohen, Chair Elect, KPI Dynamics LLC
Jay Virata, City of Poway
Jon Musgrove, Law Offices of John Musgrove
Linda Goycochea, Executive Committee, Civic Member
Lynn McConville, Poway Unified School District
Mark Boll, ARCH Health Partners
Nancy Watson, Poway News Chieftain
Sandie Dewane, Belmont Village Senior Living
Skip Baker, Generation Contracting & Emer.
Susie Vaughn, Civic Member