The Milpitas Chamber of Commerce 2009-10 year began stronger than ever. More than 300 people attended the July networking mixer hosted by Outback Steakhouse. We partnered with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley, the Black Chamber of Commerce and the Northern California Minority Business Suppliers Council for this event. August concluded with a mixer at AMF Mission Lanes Bowling Alley where we welcomed guests such as Milpitas City Councilmember Armando Gomez, and Garrett Yee, candidate for State Assembly District 20.

I'd like to thank members, directors and ambassadors for their dedication to the chamber's success. During August, Chamber Director Frank De Smidt also received recognition from Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico for his commitment to the Milpitas Chamber of Commerce.

The board of directors is working diligently to create new programs and mechanisms for the benefit of our members. A few of the more notable projects "under construction" are the recruiting of directors to fill open board seats, planning a sponsorship package and working with local elected officials and business owners to introduce a new event to the Milpitas community.

Membership opens many doors and presents worthwhile opportunities to our business owners and managers, one of which is representation on the chamber board of directors. Over the years, we've been honored to welcome pillars of the community to chair the board or sit as a director. These individuals have


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assisted in developing valuable programs and events as well as placing Milpitas on the map as a thriving California city. I'm in the process of reaching out to leaders of the business community to join our board and introduce new ideas to keep our focus fresh and up to date. The businesses in Milpitas, both large and small, are successful and respected, and becoming a director will allow your partners in the community to learn from you. If Milpitas Post readers have thoughts on an individual who might best represent the interests of Milpitas, please contact me at jserpa@republicservices.com.

No one likes to receive continual phone calls, e-mails or even letters in the mail asking for funds to support different events, luncheons, business seminars, etc. The board's goal this year is create a fund-raising package, known in the chamber world as "The Chairman's Circle," where members have the opportunity to review different support packages and choose one that best fits their budget. Making a one-time payment (or flexible quarterly payments), your business will automatically become a scheduled sponsor of marquee events such as the Crab Feed or lunch featuring a keynote speaker like Carl Guardino, chief executive of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Additional benefits may include premium advertising in the Milpitas Business Directory or on the (coming soon) new Milpitas chamber Web site. Regardless what level of support your company chooses, it is a guarantee your business will become further recognized in Milpitas and the surrounding area. Our goal is to drive business to your front door and participating in the Chairman's Circle is a great way to achieve this. More details will available in the coming quarter.

In years past, Milpitas has enjoyed such events as the Summer Art and Wine Festival, recently revamped as Celebrate Milpitas, but we've discovered this event no longer fits the needs of our community. We are a proud, diverse city and it is the chamber's job to support this and show the rest of the Bay Area what we have to offer. In the works is an international festival that celebrates our history of American, Portuguese and Italian heritage along with the blending of various other European, Asian and Hispanic cultures, just to name a few. The board believes such an event appeals to all that Milpitas was, is and will be in the future. My hope is each business in Milpitas can find a way to participate and reinforce why our city is known as the "Gateway to Silicon Valley."

As you can see, the chamber staff and directors are tirelessly working to give you the best membership experience possible. Remember, if you have any thoughts please contact us any time, either to jserpa@republicservices.com or call the chamber office.

Save the dates

-Thursday, Sept. 10: A Job Faire will be sponsored by the Milpitas Chamber of Commerce, Beverly Heritage Hotel and the University of Phoenix at the Beverly Heritage Hotel, 1820 Barber Lane, from 4-7 p.m.

-Sept. 24: A networking mixer will be hosted by Olinger's Real Estate, 89 S. Main St., 5-7 p.m. Call the chamber office to RSVP at 262-2613.

-Oct. 22: A networking mixer will be hosted by the Silicon Valley Humane Society, 901 Ames Ave., 5-7 p.m.

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Jeanne Serpa is president of the Milpitas Chamber of Commerce, and is manager of business development and municipal services for Allied Waste Services.