Chamber hires new director

New San Benito County Chamber of Commerce presidents and CEO Debbie Taylor has a long history in finance and the non-profit sector.

Taylor has long-time experience in finance, nonprofit
Taylor has long-time experience in finance, nonprofit sectors

Planning to use her 20 years of experience in finance and more than a decade in the nonprofit sector, Debbie Taylor wants to hit the ground running in her role as president and chief executive officer of the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau.

“I was a Chamber member and ambassador, and this is the community I live in, so I wanted to take more of an active role,” she said of her reasons for applying for the post, which oversees an organization with approximately 425 members. “I want to continue to promote economic growth and support the business sector of the county.”

Taylor replaces Jessica French, who last year resigned from the Chamber after nearly five years on the job and stayed on with the organization through December to help with the recruitment process.

Taylor, who moved to San Benito County five years ago, started at the Chamber on Jan. 3, previously was executive director of Community Health Charities and director of development for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Acknowledging that the economy still faces challenges, Taylor said the Chamber is here to help “business owners who are trying to work through the impact (of the sluggish economy) on their business.”

“We continue to promote businesses through our ongoing events, mixers, lunches with leaders and by continuing to put out there resources that business owners would want to utilize,” she said. “We provide ways to enhance their business, make changes and help them with the challenges they have in their particular industry.”

Located in Hollister, the countywide Chamber of Commerce was incorporated in 1921 and includes a visitor center in San Juan Bautista. Its purpose is to create, promote and celebrate economic vitality within the county by providing resources to businesses and individuals.

The business community, with leadership by the Chamber, “is staying united and keeping with the vision that we’re coming through these challenges,” Taylor said. “There is a light at the end of that tunnel. Their will always be an ongoing opportunity for businesses that will look at San Benito County as a place to open. The Chamber will provide outreach to them.”

Taylor said the chamber will also work in conjunction with a new business council to help new and prospective businesses expand their networking opportunities.

She has spent her first week preparing for an upcoming board meeting, working on budgets and reaching out to chamber members and ambassadors in advance of the group’s 91st annual dinner-dance on Jan. 21.

She encourages new and prospective chamber members to call or come by her office at 650 San Benito St., Suite 130, in downtown Hollister.

“Our website is going to need some remodeling and updating, and I’d like to get the handshake out there and do a face-to-face with people,” she said. “If they can’t make it to the office, they should definitely call us otherwise.”

For more information on the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, visit or call 637-5315.

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