The newly elected President Nicole Howard says she's excited to elevate her involvement within the community and its merchants. She also talked about new chamber initiatives, like the formation of the business improvement district and the launch of Pali's MyChamberApp.
"I'm really fortunate because Palisades is such a special place," she said in an interview last week. "You have to be available for the people, even if they're not chamber issues."
Howard's involvement began five to six years ago when she launched the community website This Week In The Palisades, which also has several other local websites devoted to Los Angeles community events and happenings. It was then Howard said the Palisades chamber asked her to be on the board of directors. Shortly thereafter she won the best new business award and then moved up from the regular board to the executive board. Howard was elected to chamber president thsi spring and began her term on July 1.
"She's a worker bee," said Pali Chamber Executive Director Arnie Wishnick. "We're delighted she's our leader now."
Howard said experience in the last six years with the chamber has really proven that, in order to for good things to happen in this community, they need the merchants.
"They're the front line, and they like to do things that create traffic and events," she said.
Howard mentioned the previous success of the Red Ticket Raffle to encourage more local shopping during the holidays and hopes more merchants get involved. She said more voices are needed on the board and the Pacific Palisades Merchant Committee.
"So we are actively interviewing and taking to merchants that are positive," she said. "Positivity is a very big part of this, because if you want successful events and programs here, you want the community to be excited about it. That's what drives people to spend money in their shops."
MyChamberApp coming to Palisades
Howard said their top priority right now is launching and informing the public of MyChamberApp, a mobile chamber member directory, which can be downloaded to any smart phone, Blackberry or iPad.
"Use it to know that it's here and available," she said. "Even if you leave the Palisades, you keep it with you."
The chamber hosts a breakfast this Friday, Aug 24, at 8:30 a.m. at the Aldersgate Retreat Center, 925 Haverford Ave., to introduce the application and explain its details with the designer.
Starting the business improvement district
Like neighboring communities of Brentwood, Westwood and Santa Monica (the Main Street Business Improvement Association), Pacific Palisades has begun the concept of a business improvement district for the village, currently being discussed locally with an ad hoc committee. Howard said the chamber is very involved.
"That's something the chamber's been looking at for the future to the better the community as a partnership," she said, noting that Lenny Rosenberg of , is involved with the business improvement district for Montana Avenue in nearby Santa Monica with his .
"We're in the very early stages," Howard added. "You have to have a consultant and a feasibility report, which could take years."
There should be two community-wide meetings in the fall to learn more about Pali's BID idea, she said.
Bringing volleyball tournament to Palisades
Howard noted that with Pacific Palisades being a hotbed for producing incredible athletes - and particularly, those who play volleyball - it's unfortunate they end up attending separate schools and don't play together. Howard, who grew up playing volleyball, said she hopes to create a community-wide tournament where all the kids can play together, and tie it into benefiting the business community, religious institutions and the schools.
Howard sold airtime for 14 years on national television and has lived in Pacific Palisades for 16 years. She has a husband and two sons.