October 18, 2021
Danielle Borja, President/CEO
Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce Announces
Westlake Village, CA – The Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce will host their “Starry Night” Recognition Gala, on Friday, November 5, 2021 from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Westlake honoring outgoing 2020 Chair of the Board, Tom Cohen of Cohen Land Use Law and winners in eight different award categories.
“We look forward to honoring all of our winners who are such important contributors to the fabric of our business community. Each Gala Award honoree has played a critical role during the pandemic response and are all contributing to the economic sustainability of a thriving Conejo Valley,” said Chamber President/CEO, Danielle Borja.
Business of the Year - Los Robles Health System
Los Robles Regional Medical Center is a 382-bed acute care hospital dedicated to serving the residents of the Greater Conejo Valley. This dedication was taken to imaginable new heights during a global pandemic that placed our healthcare workers on the frontlines. Our community is forever indebted to every single person who has worked, and continues to work, at Los Robles Hospital since March of 2020.
Amid the pandemic their dedicated staff also continued to meet daily medical needs outside of COVID-19, ranging from emergency room visits to delivering the newest members of our community and performing complex surgeries. Outside of managing the critical response to COVID-19, Los Robles Hospital celebrated two major milestones in June of 2021; opening their new Radiology Department and welcoming their first class of 20 Resident Physicians.
Man of the Year - Andrew Powers
As the City Manager of Thousand Oaks, Andrew leads through a strategic lens with passion, drive and determination. In early 2020, the City’s general plan was being updated for the first time in 50 years, the biotech hub in Rancho Conejo was on the verge of historic growth and mixed-used housing proposals were being brought forward to help meet the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) and create additional workforce housing.
The pandemic quickly shifted Andrew’s role to leading the City through a public health emergency working in close partnership with the County of Ventura to support residents and businesses alike. Through it all, he continued to lead with a steady hand without losing sight of the City’s other strategic priorities.
In December 2020, Westlake BioPartners announced the launch of two new funds totaling $500 million dollars elevating the investment and interest from leaders in life science industry including Alexandria Real Estate and HATCHspaces. By the summer of 2021, gene therapy start-up Capsida opened its 15,000 square foot manufacturing facility and established biotech leader Takeda announced a $127 million investment of their own. On the housing front, a number of significant mixed-used projects were prescreened by the City Council and the Land Use Map was endorsed in May laying the foundation to address future housing needs in the General Plan Update.
Andrew’s leadership continues to position the City of Thousand Oaks and the Conejo Valley region for a strong recovery and vibrant economic future.
Woman of the Year - Linda Rossi
Linda Rossi was promoted to President/CEO of Ventura County Credit Union (VCCU) at the beginning of 2020 and was quickly tasked with leading the organization through the pandemic. Linda led several key initiatives to support members and the community issuing 82 PPP loans for a total of $7 million, offered forbearance of $32 million in mortgages, $36 million in consumer loans and $33 million in business loans.
In addition, she led VCCU in donating $50,000 to local nonprofits and spearheaded the credit union’s #2Go2Nite campaign to promote local restaurants and encourage the community to order food and buy gift cards. Throughout her career at VCCU, she has been a primary change agent — helping establish VCCU as a community-focused credit union that is committed to not only providing excellent service for its members but also helping the Ventura County community thrive.
Linda serves on the Board of Directors for Women’s Economic Ventures and co-chairs the West County Advisory Board for Interface Children and Family Services. She is currently leading the setup of a tri-counties chapter of Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN), is a member of the Ventura County Continuum of Care Public Information and Outreach Committee and a regular volunteer for FOOD Share Ventura County.
Linda is visionary leader that will continue to make a tremendous positive impact on the Conejo Valley region.
Small Business of the Year - Your CBD Store
In 2017, Lauren Lerch went to the Route 91 Harvest music festival and narrowly escaped the mass shooting that killed 60 people. After the festival, Lauren suffered from severe PTSD and anxiety, and a friend introduced her to CBD. Within weeks her life began to change, so much so that she decided to open her own Your CBD franchise.
Your CBD Store is the largest hemp retailer in the United States and States and strives to provide its customers with the highest quality and most innovative products. The Thousand Oaks location recently celebrated its three-year anniversary, their small business supported many survivors of the Borderline shooting and more recently educating people about CBD and its benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nonprofit of the Year - Food Share Ventura County
Since the start of the pandemic, Food Share has distributed more than 26 million pounds of food and provided more than 21.6 million meals to people in Ventura County. That is the largest amount of food ever distributed in the organization’s 43-year history, and nearly double the previous high of 13.5 million pounds in 2019.
Food Share was one of many nonprofits that had to quickly meet an unprecedented rise in demand for their services; traditionally serving 75,000 people on a monthly basis and since March of 2020 that number is now 140,000.
Even in normal circumstances, an estimated 1 in 6 people in Ventura County experiences food insecurity. Monica White and her team are ready and prepared to meet that need and with the continued support from our community, no one in Ventura County needs to worry about going hungry.
Nonprofit of the Year - Senior Concerns
When our senior population had to shelter in place in March of 2020, Senior Concerns immediately expanded their Meals on Wheels program that traditionally delivered 800 meals per week to 5,000 meals a week and created several new programs to support seniors in Conejo Valley.
Andrea Gallagher and her team paired seniors with a volunteer for grocery and pharmacy shopping and no-contact delivery. They also provided caregiver support through two trained staff members who fielded over 480 calls in June and 600 calls in July to and from caregivers or seniors needing help.
The nonprofit distributed over 500 COVID-19 Toolkits to community seniors and helped them navigate how and where to get their vaccine locally as many seniors did not have the help or technical skills to book an appointment online. Today, over 80% of Ventura County residents over 18 years of age have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Volunteer of the Year - Craig Burns
Craig Burns is veteran who is committed to helping fellow veterans in partnership with Gold Coast Veteran Foundation and Buddy Nation (vets with pets). During the pandemic with his wife Denise, he made and delivered hundreds of homemade meals for Lasagna Love. Craig has been a member of the Thousand Oaks Kiwanis Club for nearly two decades and served as their club President for 2021. He does it all from delivering Christmas baskets to the underserved in our community to his involvement at the Thousand Oaks Elks Club and volunteers endlessly at wherever he can help in our community.
Ambassador of the Year - Tim McDougall
Tim McDougall of Sotheby’s International Realty became an ambassador in October of 2020 and has leaned “all in” ever since. Tim has a warm personality that makes our members feel welcome and at ease whether on a virtual mixer or in-person at a ribbon cutting or networking breakfast. Tim was highly engaged during the Land Use Map process in the City of Thousand Oaks and regularly attends Legislative Roundtable. Tim is a willing hand for anything that needs to be done and always does it with a smile. He is a tremendous volunteer asset to our Chamber.
Corporate Sponsor of the Year - Pepperdine University
Pepperdine University has been a longtime supporter of our Chamber and has donated a tremendous amount of resources over the years including their marketing team redesigning our Chamber logo back in 2015. During the pandemic when higher education was being deeply impacted, they continued their participation of Chairman’s Club at the same level providing the first funding for the Shop Conejo campaign. Pepperdine University has been a tremendous partner in a variety of ways over their 10+ years of membership and are deeply deserving of this recognition.
Pre-sale tickets for the Recognition Gala are $145 per person, $1,100 for a table of 8 guests or $1,300 for a table of 10 and available online at www.conejochamber.org through Monday, November 1, 2021.
Award & Specialty Sponsors: Caruso, Los Robles Health System, SoCalGas, IMT Residential, Mainstreet Mortgage, Montecito Bank & Trust, Pepperdine University, TechAhead,
TOLD Corporation, Union Bank
Supporting Sponsors: Atara Biotherapeutics, Chatsworth Products, Inc.,
Courtyard by Marriott – Thousand Oaks, La Quinta Inns & Suites, Mustang Marketing,
Oak & Iron, Oakmont of Agoura Hills,
Towneplace Suites Marriott – Thousand Oaks, U.S. Bank
Event Sponsors: AFC Urgent Care Agoura Hills, Athens Services, Heaven’s Hill Estate - A Vineyard & Spiritual Retreat, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, Logix, Los Angeles Rams, Motel 6, Pacific Western Bank, Southern California Orthopedic Institute,
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Unlimited
About Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, one of the largest chambers in the state of California with 800+ business members, serving the cities of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills. The Chamber’s mission is to enhance the profitability of businesses through leadership, political action, and dynamic programs to promote economic vitality for Chamber members and the community. An eleven-time consecutive President’s Circle Award winner from CalChamber for excellence in business advocacy and helping members comply with California employment laws, the United States Chamber of Commerce awarded the Chamber with its second consecutive 5-Star accreditation; one of only 105 Chambers nationwide and only 5 in California to hold this elite rating. www.conejochamber.org
Award Winners for the 2021 Recognition Gala