Thursday, February 27, 2014

New President and CEO of OMCC Announced

For Immediate Release (Feb. 27, 2014)                       Contact:  Hank Masler, (510) 874-4808

Barbara Leslie named President/CEO of
Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
Long-time Oaklander; Former AT&T, City
and Oakland Chamber Executive returns to take the helm

Oakland, CA – Today, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce announced that it has selected Oakland resident and community leader Barbara Leslie as its next President/CEO after a national search.  Leslie was most recently Director of Government Affairs at AT&T.  Leslie replaces interim CEO Dan Quigley and will begin in April 2014.

Oakland Chamber Board Chair Shannon Pedder said, “Barbara Leslie is a proven leader and a long-time Oaklander.  We welcome her as someone ready to lead, grow, and engage the business community to improve lives and the business climate.”

“This is my dream job,” said Barbara Leslie.  “I’ve dedicated my professional career to growing the Oakland economy.  Now I get to make it a reality.”

Leslie added, “I am honored to be able to lead the Chamber at a time when Oakland is realizing the potential that we have all known is here. Oakland’s unique strength is its combination of innovation, diversity, and commitment to community.  I look forward to helping the Chamber be the engine of Oakland’s expansion.” 

Barbara Leslie has 20 years of experience in local, state and federal advocacy on behalf of business in Oakland.  In her most recent role, she was a key player in government affairs for AT&T in Alameda County. 

Previously, she was the head of the Oakland Realtors Association, an executive in the City Manager’s office, and a long-time advocate to elected leaders on the business climate.  She has an extensive network of personal relationships across the business, government and civic community. 

She has already held leadership positions at the Oakland Chamber including serving as Executive Director the Leadership Oakland program, serving as a founder of OakPAC, and as a volunteer chair of the Public Policy committee.  She has also been a Board Member of Chambers as diverse as Hayward, Berkeley, the Oakland African-American Chamber and Walnut Creek.  She also served a member and Chair of Oakland’s Workforce Investment Board.

She holds Bachelors of Science, Business Administration & Economics from St. Mary’s College and a Masters Public Administration, MPA from San Francisco State University.  She lives in Oakland with her husband and two children.

Pedder added, “Our members wanted someone who could implement the Chamber’s vision for Oakland.  Someone who could build on the positive momentum in Oakland – whether it be the major infrastructure improvements, the growing presence of technology companies, building consensus on public safety issues and supporting the rising restaurant scene.  We looked far and wide across the state and the country and found our ideal leader right here in Oakland.”
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About the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

The Oakland Chamber of Commerce is 109 years old and represents over 1,000 members and 2,000 affiliates in Oakland and across Alameda County.  Among its signature accomplishments, the Oakland Chamber has led an annual MegaRegion Summit to focus on economic growth, has conducted an annual survey of Oakland voters to inform policymakers, identified a series of businesses annually to honor as local innovators, and continues to conduct extensive member programming.

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2014 StopWaste Business - March 13th

Congrats to America’s Best Coffee Roasting Co. and The Sacred Wheel who have been selected to receive waste reduction awards at the 2014 StopWaste Business Efficiency Awards.  The Ceremony will be held at the Zero Net Energy Center in San Leandro.  Register today for this free event which includes a tour of the venue – the largest Zero Net Energy building in California!


2014 StopWaste Business  

Efficiency Awards

Join us to celebrate industry leaders from throughout 

Alameda County and learn from their success stories!

The Home Depot * South Shore Center

America's Best Coffee Roasting Co. * The Sacred Wheel

Kaiser Permanente Livermore * Reliance Metalcenter * TraX  

WM EarthCare * Recology Grover Environmental Products 

Republic Services - Newby Island Compost Facility 

Carriage House Apartments 

THURSDAY MARCH 13, 2014, 8:00-10:30 AM  

Program starts at 8:30 AM  * Light breakfast served


14600 Catalina Street, San Leandro

                                                               REGISTER TODAY!  

Free event * RSVP required
Our venue is the largest Zero Net Energy building in California - a building that produces enough renewable energy on-site to meet its own electricity demand. Join us for a free 30-min tour of the Center following the awards program, approx. 10:30-11:00 AM.
The StopWaste Business Efficiency Awards honor leading Alameda County organizations whose continuous environmental performance and business efficiency have achieved outstanding results. The award event is hosted by public agency StopWaste and sponsored by Wells Fargo. Click here to learn more about more about StopWaste's business recognition program and free waste reduction resources for business. 

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014


NEWS FLASH:  TURNER IS COMBINING THE OAKLAND AND SAN FRANCISCO PROGRAMS INTO ONE IN 2014 and not offering this program in San Francisco in 2014.  Classes will be held in downtown Oakland, easily accessible to BART and ample free street parking after 6 PM.   

A special thanks to our sponsors:  Union Bank, EBMUD and Bay Area Builders Exchange.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND   Local, minority-owned, women-owned, disabled veteran owned, disadvantaged and small emerging businesses that are general contractors, specialty contractors, construction managers, construction consultants, and other companies that work closely with construction firms. There is NO COST to program participants however, participation in the 2014 Oakland/ San Francisco Turner School of Construction Management training program is a commitment to attend a minimum of 11 classes in order to receive a Certificate of Completion.

CLASS SCHEDULE   Classes will be held twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM beginning March 18th ending May 8th. Classes consist of two-hour courses in: Accounting Basics for Contractors, Estimating, Bidding & Procurement, Field Operations, Insurance & Bonding, LEAN practices, Management, Marketing & Sales, Project Delivery Systems & Contract Risk Management, Safety, and Scheduling.

HOW TO REGISTER   To register, click on this link to the Eventbrite website: deadline is March 7, 2014.


  • There are only 50 spots available. Space is limited, so only one participant per company will be accepted.
  • To be considered, your firm must have actively performed work in the construction industry for at least one year.
  • This program is only for local, minority-owned, women-owned, disabled veterans and small emerging businesses.
  • If your company is selected, you will be notified no later than Thursday, March 13.

 QUESTIONS???  Please contact Elena Anaya at

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Children's Fairyland is busy in February, check it out!

699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610 - 
Hours: Friday - Sunday
10am - 4pm
(We will be open February 17th for Presidents Day)


Lewis Mahlmann receives Lifetime Achievement Award    

Each year, the Oakland Heritage Alliance presents its Partners in Preservation Awards for activities or accomplishments that promote Oakland's historic and cultural heritage.

This year OHA will be honoring Lewis Mahlmann with the
Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment to preserving the art, craft and performance of puppetry.  Lewis was the master puppeteer at Children's Fairyland for 43 years!  For more history about Lewis and the San Francisco Bay Area Puppeteers Guild, click here.  

The City Mouse & The Country Mouse

The Storybook Puppet Theater presents: The City Mouse & The Country Mouse    
Annie, the Country Mouse, is terribly excited that Markie Mouse, her cousin from the city, is going to visit. Come enjoy one of Aesop's most famous tales, about two mice who visit each other's worlds, only to find out that home is where the heart is.
Puppets and scenery by Lewis Mahlmann. Script by David C. Jones.
Premieres February 14th, with performances at 11am, 2pm, and 4pm daily.

Make magical birthday memories at Children's Fairyland!  
Let us do the work, while you focus on the fun! Fairyland's catered birthday package includes:
  • All day park admission for one child and one accompanying adult per child.
  • A full hour in a reserved party area.
  • A crown presented to the birthday child at a scheduled puppet show.
  • A special Fairyland T-shirt for the birthday child.
  • A place setting and fruit punch for each child.  
  • A personal host to set up, serve cake/refreshments, and assist with clean-up. (Additional catering options are also available.)
Fairyland Partner Love

As a not-for-profit park, we rely on the generosity of our sponsors to support Fairyland's special events and outreach programs. 

A special shout-out to ScholarShare for sponsoring Grandparents' Week, Jack o'Lantern Jamboree, and Puppet Fair Weekend. The ScholarShare College Savings Plan is California's official 529 plan. It offers a tax-advantaged way for families to save for the cost of a college education. Find out more at
Quick Links

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Speak Easy, Speak Out- Save the Date April 11th

PEERS "Speak Easy, Speak Out: A Gala to End Mental Health Stigma" will take place on April 11, 2014 from 8pm to midnight at the California Ballroom in Downtown Oakland.  Join us for an exciting night with speakers, a silent auction, casino tables, live entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, and a fully stocked bar hosted by Alameda’s own St. George Spirits!
Have a great time while promoting the message of mental health recovery.
Please visit for tickets and more information.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Today is the last day to RSVP for Kick-off Celebration and Fundraiser for CA Historic Tax Credit Coalition

Please respond by February 21 to
Telephone 415-495-0349 x203.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Open House for Chamber Members Only

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Inside Oakland Breakfast- 02/28- FREE EVENT

Come to the "Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum" and hear from people who affect the policies and progress of the city in which we live and do business.

Hear from representatives for the three state legislative seats that represent Oakland.

Topics to be discussed: State Legislative Issues Related to Business

Speakers include:

Senator Loni Hancock

Sen. Hancock represents the 9th District of the California State Senate, stretching from Hercules in the north to San Leandro in the south, encompassing all of the City of Oakland. Sen. Hancock chairs the Public Safety Committee and Budget Subcommittee Number 5 on Corrections, Public Safety and the Judiciary, in addition to serving on other committees of relevance to the business community.

Assemblymember Nancy SkinnerAsm. Skinner was elected to the Assembly in 2008, and represents the 15th district from Hercules to north Oakland. Asm. Skinner serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, and formerly served as Chair of the Assembly Rules Committee and Chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.

Assemblymember Rob Bonta(Represented by District Director, Jim Oddie)Asm. Bonta was elected to the State Assembly's 18th district in 2012, representing the majority of Oakland and all of the cities of Alameda and San Leandro. Asm. Bonta is Chair of the Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security committee. 

Register HERE-

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014


(Oakland, CA) -- Starting off the new year with a colorful splash, Oakland will have a chance to highlight its own local creatives with the launch of a CreativeMornings Oakland chapter.

Founded in 2008 by Tina Roth Eisenberg, the New York design blog/studio eminence of Swissmiss,

CreativeMornings is a monthly breakfast lecture series for the creative community. Headquartered in

New York City, CreativeMornings has gained an avid following and grown to an international movement

with 65 satellite chapters. Each event is free of charge and includes a twenty minute talk, plus coffee.

Each month, a local creative will be invited to deliver a themed lecture. From design legends to

hometown heroes, speakers are selected based on a global theme. Attendees will have the chance to

mingle with other local creators, and then head off to work feeling inspired, thoughtful, and uplifted.

CreativeMornings, Oakland will be curated by a team of well-known local misfits and design innovators.

Hosted by Oakland-based designer Ivan Lima, the series will be produced in collaboration and

sponsorship with civic pride apparel company Oaklandish, its sister brand there there, and Pandora, the

leading internet radio service. Ivan and team hope to bring a fresh feel into the ever-popular series, with

a carefully curated, uniquely Oakland line-up, some great wake-up tunes, and locally sourced coffee.

With the addition of this Oakland chapter, Ivan believes that an amazing, eclectic group of creatives will

coalesce to shine in the town we call home. Together, this talented community of diverse individuals will

have a chance to share new ideas, grow in influence, and contend on an international level with worldclass

international creative centers like New York City, San Francisco, and Zurich.

In a pivotal time when Oakland is experiencing a vibrant renaissance, there is a great need to cultivate

creative jobs within Oakland. This can be only be achieved with the growth, support, and dialogue

within the local community. This is the open space that CreativeMornings affords. CreativeMornings

remains free thanks to the support of local sponsors, generous venues, and long-term partners. Anyone

can attend. All you have to do is register beforehand to reserve your spot.


The first lecture is themed Rebel and will be held February 28th, 8:30a – 10a, at Pandora HQ, on 2101 

Webster St., given by speaker Tony Calzaretta, Pandora’s very own Creative Director. Event ticketing 

will be released Monday, February 24th, at 11am. Follow closely, as there will be limited seating and

tickets will go fast. Stay tuned for future talks and speakers by following @Oakland_CM on Twitter, or

checking out

For more information, contact:

Ivan Lima,

Reference sites:

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Strategizing NonProfits: The Future Is Now

Only a portion of the members of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce take advantage of the many benefits of being a member, and this is certainly true for the Chamber’s 100 or so nonprofit members. The January NonProfit Roundtable meeting featured the opportunities of being a member of the Chamber and how to take advantage.

First, Dan Quigley, Interim President of the Chamber, introduced himself, sharing his excitement at being part of the Chamber transition between long-time president Joe Haraburda and the next executive. “This is a great time for Oakland right now,” he noted, and then added, “I’m struck by the number of nonprofits located in downtown Oakland, and how many national organizations are headquartered in Oakland.” As the Board of Directors moves the Chamber forward, it is reviewing and examining its opportunities in and relationship with the greater Oakland community, including nonprofits and how the organization can serve its nonprofit members better. Not only has Quigley spent much of his career in nonprofits and fundraising, but the Oakland Chamber of Commerce is also a nonprofit.

A more comprehensive conversation with Dan about nonprofits membership in the Oakland Chamber is a focus of the February 18, 2014 meeting (2:30-4:30 in the Oakland Chamber board room).

Following Dan’s introduction, Charlie Stimson, Executive Director of Bridge the Chasm (, an Oakland-based children’s education organization, gave a rallying presentation on setting the goal of “winning.” He further noted that it is a stronger focus to know and pursue what you are trying to achieve over who you are trying to help. “How do you define your big win?” he asked.

One way, according to Chamber Membership Director Nikki Mendez (the Chamber liaison to the NonProfit Roundtable) is to maximize your chamber membership. After all, via membership, you are already at the table. In her presentation, Nikki shared several frequently missed opportunities the Chamber offers for any company to make a difference for itself, such as the website job board and events calendar. Any Chamber member can use these tools, and with regard to the Event Calendar, add their own events themselves. Fantastic ways to connect with Oakland Chamber colleagues are the recurring events the Chamber hosts, such as the monthly After Five receptions (fourth Thursday evening), Chamber 101 breakfast (third Thursday morning), Inside Oakland Breakfast (fourth Friday morning) and Economic Development Forum (second Wednesday afternoon). There are specialty organizations and committees, including the NonProfit Roundtable and the Ambassador Committee, a group of individuals that serve at every event and get to know practically everyone.

The Chamber has three groups on Linked In – the Chamber, East Bay Women in Business (EBWIB) and Young Professionals, as well as a variety of social media for interaction—and therefore, promotion—such as Facebook and Twitter accounts, and the Oakland Chamber blog. Events submitted on the website can often be listed in Linked In, the blog and in the Chamber’s weekly E-newsletter, which is sent to approximately 3,000 people. Non-Profits and groups of nonprofits can also pool their resources to sponsor events.

Nikki encouraged everyone to devote two hours per month (after all, you’ve already paid for it), determine how best to use this time, and then get to it.

Hank Masler, the Chamber’s Director of Communications and editor of the monthly Oakland Business Review (OBR), shared the many communications opportunities that Chamber members have, beginning with the circulation of the OBR. The newspaper has 12,000 readers, and is a great opportunity for all Chamber members. To have an article, a member must also purchase an ad (beginning at only $125), but every month the paper also features a “Names in the News” -- tidbits about movers and shakers in the community. New hires, awards, major grants, recognition—all of these are opportunities for publication. For those who want to reach a broader market, the Chamber has ad slots available on the web site. Such ads benefit an organization in several ways, including a larger internet presence.

Inspired by the Chamber’s offer to include a feature in “Names in the News” or have an event posting, co-chair Âna-Marie Jones facilitated an exercise in which Roundtable attendees sat down and wrote short blurbs, following a few simple steps:

·         Title

·         What is it

·         Why is it special

·         Who made it possible

·         Call to Action

·         Contact info

First list the parts, and then turn them into a brief paragraph. Once complete, email to, and you are on your way!

As co-chair Jerry Metzker says, “no one knows who you are until they know who you are. There are two primary ways for others to know about your organization – someone tells them, or you do.”

Special thanks to Iryna Oreshkova of Iryna CPA ( for bringing the treats, and the Oakland Chamber for bringing a door prize.

We were honored to have representatives from California State Controller John Chiang’s Office ( attend to connect with the Bay Area’s nonprofit community.


* * * * * * * * * *

The next Oakland Chamber NonProfit Roundtable meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 18, 2014, from 2:30-4:30pm in the Chamber Boardroom. We will be holding an in-depth conversation on strengthening the nonprofit sector, both within the Chamber and in the community.

Co-Chair Âna-Marie Jones, Executive Director of CARD (
Co-Chair Jerry Metzker, Development & Marketing Manager of Biotech Partners (

Chamber Liaison Nikki Mendez, Membership Director (

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