Chamber exec ­reflects on 24 years of growth

After 24 years at the Concord Chamber, I will be retiring as the president/CEO at the end of May.

It is exciting to think about the opportunity to spend more time with my family – especially my granddaughters – but I will miss the chamber immensely.

I am grateful to all of our members for their support over the years. The chamber is flourishing, with an increase in new members, a wonderful board of directors, an active Ambassador Committee, a top-notch staff and so many volunteers who have helped the organization grow.

As you can imagine, I have seen the city change and thrive over the years. This is reflected in the programs the chamber offers and the way we do business. I have made an effort to keep the chamber relevant and implemented many new programs, such as monthly Women’s Networking Luncheons and Business Referral Groups, and invested in our Young Professionals. On top of these business events, we also put on a variety of community events over the years, like the Chocolate Festival and East Bay Senior Resource Expo.

Forging relationships with community stakeholders is important to the success of chambers of commerce. We work continually with the city’s Economic Development Division to provide a strong portfolio of resources for businesses in town. Last year, we teamed with the Concord Police Department to bring the Disney Institute to town to provide training on quality customer service. This was a unique opportunity open to a few select chambers.

Education has always been important to the chamber and me. I spent several years mentoring Mt. Diablo High School students in the Digital Safari Program and the International Hospitality & Tourism Academy. We began a scholarship program for high school students, produce yearly Career Pathways Student Showcases, hold BEST Day – a day for our local teachers to learn what skills students need to succeed in the business world – and I have participated in Principal for a Day.

I am proud to tell you that I will be leaving the chamber in its best position ever. We have a strong reserve account, programs to help businesses thrive, monthly and yearly events that are sell-outs and new members joining every month.

I was privileged to be at this job for 24 years. It will be hard to say goodbye, but know that I truly appreciate our community and wish all businesses success and prosperity.

Marilyn Fowler is the president/CEO of the Concord Chamber of Commerce. For more information on chamber programs, call 925-685-1181 or email