By Denise Ortuno Neil
With the Coachella Valley growing more and more every year, support of local businesses from our local Chambers of Commerce becomes exceedingly important. And thanks to passionate leaders like Katie Stice of the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce, she’s helping those businesses and local professionals become even more successful.
Born and raised in San Diego, Katie Stice came to the Coachella Valley in her sophomore year of high school and graduated from Indio High School. Stice was always civic minded. It was from volunteering for the Family YMCA of the Desert at Camp Oaks which led her to a position of Operational Director at the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert in Rancho Mirage. She held her position there for eight years before making her move to the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce where she is the Vice President of Member Services, Development & Social Media and has been so for the past seven years. It is clear that Stice enjoys her job immensely, “Once I became immersed in the community, I knew I wanted to stay, support, invest and enhance in the Coachella Valley’s future,” said Stice.
One of the most gratifying parts of working in her position is helping the dreams of small businesses come true as she realizes the challenges that they face, “Being an entrepreneur is probably the hardest job in the world,” said Stice . But her chamber is there to help, as they are a Five-Star Accredited Chamber and the valley’s largest referral and networking source. They also aid in education and pro-business legislation. As part of her job, she is responsible for maximizing member recruitment, through sales and marketing efforts, as well as maintaining relationships with existing members. She also coordinates monthly events including, Mixers, Business Breakfasts, the Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade and many other events. Stice explains that the most important part of the chamber is not only the events and networking, but getting to know their neighbors in the community.
Stice has recently completed the ACE (Accredited Chamber Executive) and IOM (Institute for Organizational Management). Stice is proud to point out that her CEO and VP of Communications have also received the same designations, making her chamber the only in the state with all three staff members with that level of education making their team very special.
Stice also has a rewarding personal life as she is newly married as of June of 2013. The newlywed couple has also just purchased their first home together and keeps their relationship fresh by having frequent “Date Nights”, “Since our schedules are so busy, date nights are most important,” said Stice. They enjoy hiking with their dog Grissom, trying their luck at local casinos, movie outings and valley restaurants.
Stice also keeps busy by working with the WACE (Western Association of Chamber Executives) as part of their first-time Emerging Leaders Council which helps to engage, enrich and enhance professional development in chamber executives throughout the Western states.
Stice is eager to invite local professionals to their monthly Business Breakfast speaker series, popular Mixers among many other events that the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce initiates. And although it is many months away, she is excited about this year’s Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade which will take place on October 26th, 2014. This year’s parade will be extra special as they celebrate the parades 50th Anniversary. It will be quite the party and Stice encourages everyone to come, especially those who have never experienced it, “It’s a free family fun day, what could be better than that?” states Stice.
As valley business continues to grow, it is vital that they have the support of the cities that they do business in. And with the encouragement of chamber executive’s such as Stice, these businesses and local professionals have the optimum of that support. It is clear that Stice has the enthusiasm to make these businesses owners dreams come to fruition as she voices the sentiment of all of us who adore the Coachella Valley, “I love this desert!”
For more information on the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce visit www.pdacc.org