Dear EPC Members,

The summer has been busy at the Chamber and while I know July will slow some as people decamp for vacation, we have worked hard over the last month to continue our mission.

I want to start by sharing the results of the CEO search process; we are excited to welcome Andrea Adkins-Hutchins as the new President and CEO of the El Paso Chamber. Andrea comes to the position with a wealth of economic development experience, some of that garnered here in El Paso with the County. Andrea has a strong affinity for the community, and I am certain her presence as the Chamber’s new leader will help continue the positive work we have done.

I want to thank our Chairman, Max Villaronga, and the search committee of the Board of Directors, for their hard work over the past three months. The committee reviewed over 155 applications, narrowed to 7 finalists, and finally presented the recommendation of Andrea Hutchins to the board. In the meantime, the Chamber board went above and beyond to provide support to the EPC team, which in turn allowed us to operate without skipping a beat.

Over the course of my time as Director of Innovation and as an interim President and CEO of the El Paso Chamber I consider myself lucky to have worked with some amazing people. The current iteration of the team at EPC has driven our agenda of connecting, coaching, advocating, and innovating to new heights and just over the course of the summer our work on diversity, economic support for innovation, and enhanced coaching continues to have enormous impact.

I have been especially excited about our efforts to support Pride month in El Paso. The Chamber has been a major supporter of diversity across business in the community. Not only do we recognize that diversity is important for business, but we also believe that as society evolves and advances, businesses should reflect what is happening in our world. The Chamber must take a lead in championing diversity in business, and it remains an integral part of our mission to promote all business.

I am grateful for the efforts of our Pride Committee, chaired by Art Gloria. Over the course of the last several years, this committee has worked on several significant initiatives, particularly to organize members and have thoughtful discussions on LGBTQ+ trends and opportunities in the community. This year the Committee worked with our partners at Marathon Petroleum and the City of El Paso to have a traffic intersection in the Diversity Square area, painted in the rainbow flag colors. The colors, associated with the diversity within the LGBTQ+ movement, make a fantastic addition to Downtown El Paso. We were pleased to support the effort, especially as it offset any cost to the Streets Department.

I believe dialogue is an important precursor and ultimately a foundation for social innovation and through our trend work, we have pushed dialogue to engage complicated issues in the economy and in society. Our Pride committee has carried forward this approach and this month also hosted a Happy Hour at the Alamo Draft House that featured networking and comradery as well as a great discussion related to LGBTQ+ diversity in the workplace and throughout El Paso businesses. Our members explored a variety of topics focused on LGBTQ+ issues in the workplace.

We look forward to continuing our focus on diversity in the workplace, not just during Pride month, but year-round. In the meantime, we are hard at work on our “State of” series of events and our Women in Business conference, which will take place on September 21st. We look forward to having Andrea, our new CEO greet you, as the first woman CEO of the El Paso Chamber in its 120-year history!