Tallia Hart, CEO of Healdsburg’s chamber of commerce, wins a North Bay Business Journal Nonprofit Leadership Award
Professional background: 25 years of Non-profit management experience. Executive Director ECA. VP of Ft. Collins Chamber, CEO San Rafael Chamber, CEO Greater Irvine Chamber, CEO San Francisco Chamber.
Education: Bachelor of Science from Colorado State University
Number of staff: 4, plus Visitor Center Volunteers
Describe your organization: The Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce is a leading nonprofit business organization located in wine country. Our mission is to assist in creating a healthy economic ecosystem. We are a business forward organization that promotes economic sustainability and a strong, healthy, inclusive business environment. We build a climate for business to succeed.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was an adoptee and came to the states as a baby from Vietnam. I grew up in Colorado and enjoyed the outdoors, pets, and gymnastics. I trained for the Olympics with Bela Karolyi in 87 and 88. I continued to do competitive sports in high school and was captain of the lacrosse team and poms squad.
I left Colorado in my late 20’s and have lived in California since. I returned to Vietnam in 2008 to adopt my own daughter which was proudly picked up by Katie Couric and ABC nightly news. I teach Pilates as a side hustle and love my two English bulldogs. You can find me working out during my free time and enjoying life outdoors with my daughter.
What is your role in the organization?
CEO and the buck stops here lady!
How has your organization been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
The pandemic with the combination of PSPS’s and fires have greatly impacted our organizations members. Life is different and we have an incredible demand to help business solve issues that none of us have previously faced.
We are a tight community, and everyone is doing what they can to help, but we’ve definitely had to adapt and show our value proposition in a different way. There are lots of requests to solve and educate where we can, and we do our best to deliver based on an environment we cannot control.
What are the ways your organization responded to increased demands for services, and fiscally, in what has your organization been forced to adjust?
We are a small team and have had to adapt in how we deliver information and how we provide services to members. We have been diligent about what the entire communities’ needs are and not just our members.
Every service we provide is focused on the health and well being of all business. We have been creative in the delivery of those services and tried to be present in a world where social distancing is in demand. We will continue to look for ways in which we can serve and educate our members on how to adapt in this new climate.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I was the first and only woman to run the San Francisco Chamber in 167 years. I also was the national champion on the uneven bars.
What is your biggest challenge today?
Honestly, keeping myself mentally healthy and focused to serve those around me. It is an incredible amount of pressure to be a leader in this type of climate where many people are struggling with significant issues and you are expected to fix, change and help on a daily basis.
What is the next major project either under way or on the horizon?
Right now, we are focused on getting through this pandemic, but we are also focused on the future and adapting to this role.
We hope to make our visitors center more of an “engagement” center and start providing some forward-thinking seminars on the changing business climate.
We will look at topics such as AI and how that is going to impact all of us, as well as, working remotely and how that will change the way companies produce. The changing dynamic of the workforce is also a critical piece to review during this pandemic.
What product or service would/or is helping you do your job more effectively?
The ability to apply for grants and financial help. Anything that can fund a 501 c6 (and there aren’t many) are critical to our livelihood moving forward. I hope the county, state and federal elected officials will remember how critical we are to the survival of a healthy economy.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?
I think there will be more pressure to provide services. When things are chaotic people look for consistency and solutions. Organizations will need to adapt quickly and without hesitance to try and please everyone.
Describe a fond memory you have about working with a staff member or client of your organization?
I have had some amazing teams over the years and made some very tight friendships with board members. One of the most exciting things I have been able to do was speak at Oracle Open World and Google. I never imagined in a million years I’d have these kinds of opportunities.
What other community involvement would you like people to know about?
I serve on the Healdsburg Education Foundation and the Development Board for the SOCO Humane Society.
Most admired businessperson outside your organization: There are many I admire in business, but I heard Deepak Chopra speak and he’s probably one of the most brilliant people around that has built an empire on personal wellness. Oprah was also pretty engaging! LOL
Current reading: No time for books currently.
Most want to meet: Richard Branson from Virgin
Stress relievers: Daily Method, pilates, massage
Favorite hobbies: Currently finding a new one…suggestions welcome?
Social media you most use: Instagram
Buzz word from your industry you dislike the most: Member-driven
Typical day at the office: Nothing is typical anymore. Each fire is unique.
Best place to work outside of the office: My backyard…dogs included!
Words that best describe you: Intriguing
Anything you want to add?
I am honored to be on this list!