[caption id="attachment_10865" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Kate King"][/caption]
President and CEO
Napa Chamber of Commerce
1556 First St.
by Jenna V. LoceffBusiness Journal Staff Reporter
NAPA - About to celebrate 10 years with the Napa Chamber of Commerce, Kate King, the president and chief executive officer, cites the advocacy role of her job as her chief passion.
"To be able to help people become the best they can be makes my heart fill," she said.
She first came to Napa in 1997, visiting from Southern California where she was the CEO of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce.
"It was rainy and dreary, and the vines were bare," she said. "I fell in love. I got teary when I left. It felt like I had been here before."
She came back a few more times over the next year and told herself if a job opportunity came up, she would grab it.
"And as if it went from my lips to God's ears, the position at the chamber opened and I grabbed it."
She had been in charge of the San Marcos chamber for five years and seen it grow from a 300-member organization with a budget deficit to 750 members with $100,000 in reserves and its own building.
"I enjoyed the challenge," she said.
Ms. King has been recognized for her chamber work and received numerous awards. Included on her extensive awards shelf are the 1997 Western Association of Chamber Executive's William E. Hammond Award for outstanding work in chamber management, the year 2000 Chamber Executive of The Year and the 2005 Russell E. Petit Memorial Award for excellence in leadership. In November of 2006, Ms. King was one of six citizens to be appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve on the California Small Business Board.
Her nomination for the Women in Business award came from her entire staff and the executive committee of the Napa Chamber of Commerce.
"Kate is an exceptional leader," said Lisa Batto, executive vice president of the chamber. "She strives to make each member of the staff a valuable partner in the chamber's success. She supports an environment of open communication, healthy dialogue and continuing education."
She came to Southern California from Colorado Springs in the fifth grade. Her first passion was the theater, and she wanted to be a professional actress. She had been accepted into a summer program taking the show Our Town on the road with Henry Fonda.
"But I ended up falling in love and getting married instead," she said.
While still in Southern California, she started the theater group Pacific Coast Players in Oceanside.
"We got ahold of an old movie theater," she said.
It was her first dealings with a city government, the same people she deals with daily in her chamber work, but it came naturally and she convinced them that a theater would be a good thing for the city.