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March 20, 2023

Chamber CEO: ‘Very good time to hand it over’

Juli Vieira called her departure from the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce “bittersweet” but she’s happy to leave the organization in a good place.
“As we all know, I took over the chamber when it was in pretty rough shape,” Vieira said. “Like the press release says, it’s turned around now, so I think I’m leaving it in a good place.”
In an interview with San Benito Live, Vieira was referring to the chamber’s announcement Thursday that she’s resigning, effective May 25, to take the same post with the Sausalito chamber. She attributed the change to a desire to move closer to family, with a grandchild’s birth expected in May.
“I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life,” she said. “It definitely is going to be bittersweet to leave the community I was born and raised in. I have a grand-baby that’s due in May, and so I just want to be closer to my kids. That was definitely the driving force.”
Among her accomplishments listed in the chamber’s announcement and the interview include an increase in membership year over year, publishing two business/visitors directories, increased tourism marketing, led creation of new chamber and tourism websites, and the organization of various programs and seminars.
“I think it’s a very good time to hand it over to someone else to grow it even further and see what they can do for the community,” she said.
Chamber Board Chairman Victor Gomez noted how Vieira helped to turn around the organization.
“I wasn’t on the board when they hired her. I do know the condition the organization was in back then when she took over,” Gomez said.
He said the chamber now has about 400 members.
“She’s not leaving an organization in shambles,” Gomez said.
He went on: “For us, it’s a win because we had her for three years and she turned the ship around.”
Vieira said she will help the transition and mentioned the chamber will recruit outside the county as well.
“We’re not going to rush into anything,” she said. “We want it to be a smooth transition.”
For a video on the chamber’s Wreaths Across America event, see below:
For a video featuring the chamber’s annual Dinner Dance, see below: