Cham­ber CEO is step­ping down

Search for re­place­ment be­gins

Porterville Recorder - - FRONT PAGE - recorder@porter­villere­corder.com

Porter­ville Cham­ber of Com­merce Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Stephanie Cortez will be leav­ing the Porter­ville Cham­ber of Com­merce at the end of this year to pur­sue a new busi­ness op­por­tu­nity, ac­cord­ing to cur­rent Cham­ber Board Pres­i­dent Ra­mona Chi­apa.

Ear­lier this month Cortez and her hus­band, Leo, an­nounced the ac­qui­si­tion of a lo­cal Uhaul busi­ness, U-haul ITC a new en­deavor in ad­di­tion to their tech­nol­ogy com­pany ITC. Cortez has al­ways been a voice for small busi­ness growth and devel­op­ment and this new op­por­tu­nity gave her a chance to re­turn to her pas­sion.

“Stephanie has played a vi­tal role in the growth and change of the Cham­ber of Com­merce. Her ex­pe­ri­ence as a busi­ness owner and past cham­ber board mem­ber brought a fresh per­spec­tive to her role. Her ded­i­ca­tion to the or­ga­ni­za­tion and the Porter­ville com­mu­nity has been ev­i­dent over the years and we were for­tu­nate to have her at the helm of our or­ga­ni­za­tion,” said Chi­apa.

Cortez be­gan her ten­ure with the Porter­ville Cham­ber of Com­merce in 2014 re­plac­ing long­time CEO Don­nette Silva-carter. She quickly made a name for her­self within the busi­ness com­mu­nity adding her own flair to events and ac­tiv­i­ties in the com­mu­nity. Most no­tably Cortez can be cred­ited for the cre­ation of the Busi­ness and Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee and the Down­town Busi­ness Sub­com­mit­tee which fo­cus on lo­cal busi­ness growth and pro­mot­ing the support of lo­cal down­town busi­nesses. She was also

in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing the KJUG Con­cert Se­ries to the Porter­ville Com­mu­nity.

From the be­gin­ning, it was a fam­ily af­fair. Cortez, her hus­band and two chil­dren would of­ten go above and be­yond vol­un­teer­ing their time in support of cham­ber and com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties, Chi­apa said. Whether it was set­ting up bar­ri­cades for an event, post­ing or tak­ing

down signs for the Iris Fes­ti­val or at­tend­ing a com­mu­nity events Cortez’s fam­ily was by her side. With her younger chil­dren get­ting older and the ad­di­tion of a new grand­child Cortez is look­ing for­ward to spend­ing more time with fam­ily af­ter the tran­si­tion.

The Porter­ville Cham­ber Board will be­gin the search for a new CEO and hopes to fill the po­si­tion be­fore the year’s end to al­low for tran­si­tion and train­ing,

Chi­apa said.

“We are cer­tainly sad to see Stephanie go, but we wish her well in her fu­ture en­deav­ors and ap­pre­ci­ate all she has done,” said Chi­apa, speak­ing on be­half of the board. “She helped the or­ga­ni­za­tion over­come sig­nif­i­cant changes and tran­si­tion and is com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing this new change is seam­less. Her fo­cus re­mains on our mis­sion of pro­mot­ing busi­ness for the bet­ter­ment of the com­mu­nity.”

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