Spotlight on Entertainment

Paradise Bound Yacht Charters

310.305.8884  |

If you hear a trumpet playing near the Ritz, it’s probably Captain Alex Balian from Paradise Bound Yacht Charters!  You can find Capt. Alex, his wife Marlene, the Silver Eagle (his 42’ sailing yacht), and his trumpet docked right outside the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey. 

Captain Alex served in the U.S. Navy for 27 years, 4 commands, 15 Navy ships, and 22 countries worldwide. He knows the sea! After retiring from the Navy with a silver star for being shot at, sunk, and escaping with his crew in Vietnam, he returned to southern CA. He knew his passion was on the water and moved from military service to “paradise.”

Founded in 1990, Paradise Bound Yacht Charters has about one thousand charters a year. The 42’ sailing yacht holds six people plus Capt. Alex, who skippers, and his wife, Marlene, who is the “hostess with the mostess”!  They own the business and do all the work themselves, so they know it’s done right! “With the wind in their sails,” they mostly sail the coast from Marina del Rey to Venice, Ocean Park, Santa Monica, and Malibu. They are a full-service company and can host weddings (Capt. Alex is licensed minister), burials at sea, corporate events, romantic cruises, sailing trips, fishing trips, etc…. Capt. Alex says if it’s legal, they do it! And if you have more than six and up to 300 people, he can accommodate you with access to larger yachts too. 

Not to toot his own horn, but Capt. Alex says, “there’s no better way to see the coast than on a sailing yacht with Captain Alex.” And after 32 years, they have no plans of retiring; they love what they do and want to share it with everyone. So, “come sail with the best!” Capt. Alex will even play his trumpet for you…when appropriate!  

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Spotlight on Zakiya Ellick

Meet Zakiya Ellick, Owner/CEO of The Cookie Dip Company

Instead of snacking on chips and dip, Zakiya Ellick suggests a sweeter alternative…Cookies and Dip! That is the delightful idea behind The Cookie Dip Company. The Cookie Dip Company, founded by Zakiya, provides premium accessories for your cookies, aka “dips”, in a variety of tantalizing flavors. 

Zakiya’s dream of being an entrepreneur, mixed with her creativity with all things delicious, was the perfect recipe for The Cookie Dip Company. An artist by nature, Zakiya found her mode of art, creating “edible love, to be shared with everyone”. She brings her creativity to the forefront with her innovative, premium flavors that you won’t find in other cookie companies. Flavors such as Mango Chili or Milk Chocolate Horchata are both unique and delicious, and truly the snack you never knew you needed. 

Having made her own dream come true, Zakiya reflects on the journey and credits her unwavering passion and desire for her success. She offers advice to other entrepreneurs, to take all opportunities to learn what is unknown and to “turn your fear into fuel.”  

The LAX Coastal Chamber is honored to have Zakiya and The Cookie Dip Company as one of our valued Chamber members. We encourage you to check out The Cookie Dip Company for yourself. Become a #firsttimecookiedipper or surprise your Valentine with this scrumptious treat. It will change the way you eat cookies forever! 

Explore The Cookie Dip Company

IG: @_thecookiedipcompany 

FB: @thecookiedipcompany 

Spotlight on Theodora Oyie

Meet Theodora Oyie, President & CEO Mindful Integration of Construction Services

As a former foster care ward, Theodora is grateful to have attended college at UC Riverside, and received her MBA at USC. She worked for general contractors in various capacities for at least a decade prior to launching Mindful Integration of Construction Services (MICS).

MICS exists to serve our region. They aim to ensure the outreach to and the participation of the LAX Coastal community, and Southern CA at large, during the construction of projects that are physically and economically transforming our city.  

MICS helps contractors achieve participation goals that require local workers and/or diverse businesses. Lead by Theodora, MICS brokers partnerships, develops and delivers implementation plans that meaningfully engage the community’s residents and diverse businesses to access employment during the construction of multi-million/ billion-dollar projects. 

MICS’s hope is to help shift the current mindset of Owners and Contractors to leverage the federal initiatives to facilitate diversity, equity and inclusion as projects are built. Their experience underscored by plentiful empirical data reinforces that the pursuit of profit is not mutually exclusive to inclusion or equity. MICS aims to help project teams intentionally pay attention to (i.e. be mindful to include their scopes) as they integrate (i.e. make whole) all the aspects required to construct the project.

Theodora is proud of her team for exceeding participation goals on every project they have managed, as well as for the positive economic transformations MICS has facilitated for their clients’ businesses and workers.

As an immigrant, African woman with no supportive network or prior background in construction before beginning her career, Theodora can look back and offer advice to those just beginning their own careers today.

“I would highly encourage them to jump in and educate themselves on the various aspects of the industry, get exposure to several crafts before anchoring in on one, learn and enjoy whatever craft they prefer; and be kind to people. Because of the 2028 Olympics, combined with the Infrastructure upgrades, our region is enviably flushed with significant work. Sky is the limit.”

The LAX Coastal Chamber is so grateful to have Theodora and MICS as valued Chamber members, bringing their immensely important work to our community. We encourage you to learn more about Mindful Integration of Construction Services.

Learn more about MICS

Spotlight on Construction & Engineering

Jenkins/Gales & Martinez, Inc.
310.645.0561  |

As seen in the LAX Coastal Magazine & Business Guide, pg. 26

As a kid, Ryan Gales enjoyed tinkering with Legos and Transformers. Today, he is building on a much larger scale as the CEO of Jenkins/Gales & Martinez (JGM). Started by his father, it is one the of the largest minority-owned (and family-run) firms in their field. JGM offers services in six major categories: Project Management and Control, Urban Design and Architecture, Construction Management, Engineering, Transportation and Transit Management, Urban and Regional Analysis and Planning. They have worked on many major projects in California and around the country including schools, stadiums, and airports.

Ryan is most proud of working on airports because he says they are like “self-contained cities.” JGM has many projects at LAX, JFK, LaGuardia, Ontario, and Indianapolis, among others. The educational system in California has also benefitted from Ryan and his team’s expertise, as they have either built from scratch or remodeled many schools across California. In addition, they work with many major institutional facilities, commercial buildings, transit/transportation, public works infrastructure, and housing. A primary benefit of hiring JGM is that they are a smaller family-run business and can make decisions quickly. They see projects through from beginning to end. They are also proud to offer both architecture and construction management at one firm! 

Ryan would like to see the company grow, but in a smart and targeted way.  As a massive sports fan, one of Ryan’s favorite projects is the Banc of CA soccer stadium in downtown L.A. He would love to do more stadiums in the future. Ryan and his company pride themselves on living by a few rules. As his grandfather taught him, “A man is only as good as his word.” Ryan says that if they say they are going to do something, they will do it and do it well.  He also says that they would rather lose money than do a bad job. JGM and their team have a proven track record of meeting their client’s needs, on-time and within budget. So, if you have any kind of building needs (especially a sports stadium for Ryan), Jenkins/Gales and Martinez is available for any small to massive commercial projects, and they will get the job done, and done well! 

22 Things Your LAX Coastal Chamber Did for You in 2022!

#1 – The Chamber successfully launched its strategic plan that established the Chamber’s core values of TRUST & RESPECT | WELCOMING | COLLABORATIVE | CONTINUOUS LEARNING | SUPPORTIVE

#2 – As part of the Chamber’s strategic plan, the Chamber established its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee that’s main focus is to help the Chamber be a leader for business in the DEIA space. Special thanks to the 19 passionate and inclusive business leaders that guide the Chamber’s work in this space.

#3 – We welcomed 124 new members to the LAX Coastal Chamber business community!

#4 – With the help of our many members, we recognized and thanked over 650 Protectors in our community through our Annual Protectors’ Appreciation Week.

#5 – The Chamber onboarded two new dynamic staff team members to help meet the growing needs of our members and business community. – Tacha Vilson, our Director of Programs & Events and Mary-Catherine Micka, our Director of Business Relations

#6 – Amongst a captivated audience of 325 Chamber members, we recognized the hard work of 26 educational leaders at the 39th Annual Teacher Eddy Awards.

#7 – On July 4th, the 22nd Annual LAX Coastal Chamber 4th of July Parade – “Yours for a Better Community : Celebrating the Best of America” commemorated the 100th Birthday of Howard Drollinger – a beloved local community hero and founding member of the Chamber. Howard’s daughter, Karen Dial (President, Drollinger Properties) served as this year’s Grand Marshal.

#8 – The Chamber properly thanked Christina Davis for her 17 years of outstanding leadership & service as President/CEO. Christina now works closely with the Chamber as a key partner as Executive Director of Gateway Los Angeles.

#9 – The LAX Coastal Chamber penned over a dozen letters to elected leaders and government officials on key issues that would affect the vitality of our business community – supporting key infrastructure projects to sustainable aviation fuel.  

#10 – We collaborated with the Veterans Chambers of Commerce on a special Development, Design, and Construction “Craft Beer & Construction Night” that would bring together over 100 Chamber members in architecture, engineering, land use, and general construction.

#11 – The Chamber hosted over 57 networking events that brought our business community together.

#12 – We recognized LA County Supervisor, Kathryn Barger & SoCalGas President, Maryam Brown as “Amazing Women of Los Angeles” at this year’s City of Angels Gala. 

#13 – We hosted a two-part “Meet the Candidates Forum” for Council District 11 that eventually led to the successful endorsement of our newly elected Councilwoman – Traci Park.

#14 – Over 120 businesses in the LAX Coastal region had their “Years in Business” milestones anniversaries celebrated and recognized.

#15 – The Chamber helped celebrate and provide visibility to 5 local small businesses with a Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.

#16 – Our Network for Change Program brought together over 60 Chamber members to support Friends of Ballona Wetlands in a cleanup day.

#17 – We hosted 10 Lunch N Learn Workshops & Webinars to provide resources and tools for our business community. Topics included Managing a Remote Workforce, Branding, Storytelling, and Recession Proofing Your Business

#18 – The Chamber launched a Boost w/Meta three-part workshop series along with a member-led Content Creation Series that gave businesses enhanced tools to increase their presence online.

#19 – We brought together over 500 business leaderschamber members, and veterans to hear from LAWA CEO, Justin Erbacci at our State of LAX Luncheon – one of the largest sit-down signature events in the Chamber’s 69-year history.

#20 – Our 14th Leadership Academy Program celebrated the graduation of 17 Chamber business leaders.

#21 – We hosted a wide variety of virtual programs, networking events, and committee meetings to reach our even broader member network across greater Los Angeles.

#22 – The Chamber helped 21 local, small, women and minority owned businesses get their small business certification through the Chamber’s SBE Certification Program in collaboration with the Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Center and Jack Ochoa of Infinity GPC.

Each of you has played a vital role in a VERY busy and productive year here at the LAX Coastal Chamber! We look forward to finding even more innovative ways to support you and your business in 2023!

Small Business Helps Shape Los Angeles

Inside Four of the Chamber’s Small Minority and Woman Owned Businesses

Los Angeles is the most diverse city in the world and the epicenter of the most hopeful and optimistic citizens in the United States of America. With more than 224 languages spoken, it truly is a microcosm of the world. It is a place of dreams and hopes – a destination where business leaders and entrepreneurs come to find their place. Los Angeles has become a hub for a variety of industries – sports & entertainment, hospitality, health care, infrastructure, and technology.

As we look forward to the LA 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the eyes of the world are slowly turning to Los Angeles and preparation for the games and the LAX Coastal region will be the “front door” to the world. The LAX Coastal region is a diverse region that stretches from Marina del Rey – dubbed LA’s marina to the north – to the runways of LAX to the south and bright lights of Inglewood to the east. With these key landmarks in our region comes opportunity for economic prosperity for small, diverse, and minority owned businesses and organizations.

Small Business is the Life Blood of LA County

For close to thirty years, Jack Ochoa, has made a career as a supplier of diversity work chasing the biggest companies in the world to support the “little guys and gals.” It was a career that started with working with the likes of Grainger, Toyota and Aramark as a procurement buyer that would teach him the tricks of the trade in collaborating with local and state governments. 

“There are 88 municipalities in Los Angeles County and all of them buy a variety of things. California is the fifth largest economy in the world and Los Angeles County alone is the seventh largest economy in the world. There is plenty of opportunity just down the street.” said Ochoa.

In 2017, Jack Ochoa started Infinity Government Procurement, a veteran owned small business that focuses on helping small, minority, women, and veteran owned businesses learn to navigate the government procurement process. Infinity GPC helps business owners gain necessary certifications and understand the procurement systems across the Southern California Region that will eventually allow them to scale up their business. To date, Jack has successfully helped over 2,000 businesses based in Los Angeles County become certified with the California Department of General Services.

Jack’s passion for entrepreneurship and supporting small business started at a very young age while living with his parents in the city of Guadalajara in the State of Jalisco in Mexico. Jack’s mom, at the young age of 17 was offered the opportunity from her uncle to sell a pig for a bus ticket that would bring her to the United States. Jack’s parents committed their lives to the American Dream of growing their own small business, but also helping others scale and grow their business. Jack attributes his passion and his desire to want to help others to the hard lessons that his parents taught him during his childhood.

Along with Jack’s work as CEO of Infinity GPC, Jack also doubles up as a business consultant for the Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC) – a federally funded center that provides free resources to small businesses. Through his work at Infinity GPC and the SBDC, Jack developed a four-week virtual program that helps teach small business leaders the importance of certification and how to navigate public and private procurement. At the high point of the pandemic in May 2020, Jack brought this important program to the LAX Coastal region. “I saw certification as a huge opportunity for businesses in the LAX Coastal region. I did some research and noticed that there were only 67 certified small businesses in the Chamber’s service area. Helping a small, minority, woman, or veteran owned business get certified in LA County or the City of Los Angeles has the potential to open up new business development opportunities that previously never existed,” commented Jack.

City governments, special districts (such as LAX, Port of LA) and the County of Los Angeles all have procurement spending requirements with certified small businesses – everything from infrastructure contracts to office supplies. 

Jack recently was a part of the team that rolled out the Regional Alliance Marketplace for Procurement (aka RAMP). RAMP is the City of Los Angeles’ newest centralized portal where all public entities, as well as private companies, can upload their procurement opportunities. RAMP was designed to help create one master “rolodex“ of certified small, minority, woman, and veteran owned businesses in one location.

One of these certified small, woman, and minority owned businesses is Murakawa Communications.

Trisha Murakawa, Principal at Murakawa Communications, just celebrated 20 years in business working on some of the most important quality of life projects in the Los Angeles region. A certified small, woman, minority owned business, Murakawa Communications has helped bring stakeholders together to find a voice on critical infrastructure projects.

Murakawa credits her success to her parents‘ commitment and devotion to community service. Raised by a fourth generation Angeleno mother and father that hailed from Hawaii, Trisha was taught at a very early age that trust, respect, integrity, service, and passion would be the guiding principles in life. To this day, those same principles have been what has driven her work at Murakawa Communications.

Murakawa has been on the front lines working with key stakeholders in some of LA’s most diverse communities on some of the most impactful quality of life projects that center around transportation, infrastructure, water, and sanitation. Murakawa was fortunate enough to be tapped by LAX ConRAC Partners, a joint venture public private partnership that was chosen by Los Angeles World Airports to build a 6.3 million square foot facility that will become the largest rental car complex in the world. The Consolidated Rent-A-Car (ConRAC) Facility is set to house close to 18,000 vehicles and is the second largest concrete structure in the U.S. behind only the Pentagon.

Most recently, Murakawa was hired by the Los Angeles Metro Transit Authority (Metro) to lead the outreach efforts for the Vermont Transit Corridor Project, which explores bringing further mass transit from Hollywood Boulevard to 111th Street in South Los Angeles. Murakawa and her team’s task – connect with some of Los Angeles’ most vulnerable communities to hear more about their transportation needs. 99% of the communities along the Vermont Transit Corridor were communities of color with more than 60% living below the poverty line. Communities where cars were in short supply and Angelenos were just trying to get to the next day. Murakawa shared, “We spent time in women’s shelters and drug treatment centers along the project site to learn what people were going through.” Her team quickly learned of the major disparities facing Angelenos in these communities. Public safety was a top priority for those taking mass transit – (lighting at bus stops and buses improperly used for shelters and bathrooms). Murakawa continued, “Part of the work we do is understanding the thoughts and opinions of all the key stakeholders in the community so the best and most effective plan can be put together.”

For twenty years, Murakawa Communications has been working with stakeholders to ensure their voices are heard. “It is so critical that we use and look through an equity lens on how we develop and implement our plans. This has been our approach. We must create a way for all stakeholders to be heard,” says Murakawa.

Another minority owned company who shares these same values is Papa John’s-Westchester, owned by Jonathan and James Miller. Some of their main priorities are taking care of people, listening to their customers and staff and treating them like family.

Big Ideas & Entrepreneurship for a Better Community

In 1991 at the young age of seven, Jonathan Miller vividly remembers the Tyson Chicken Food Truck pulling into a parking lot in Dallas, Texas and unloading chicken for his dad, James Miller’s KFC Restaurant. At 10, he remembers being in the back kitchen cooking chicken and at 12 at the register taking orders. A strong education, hard work, entrepreneurship and taking care of people were the life lessons that James Miller taught his son from a very young age growing up in the suburbs of Dallas in the 90s.

 “Business has always been about how you treat people. When they walk into your store, do you remember them and thank them for their business,” shares James Miller. James Miller’s journey started though much earlier as education opened his eyes to the world. James would go on to graduate from University of North Texas followed by a Bachelor’s in Business in Administration and an MBA from Texas A&M University. From there, it was a job as a Resale Marketing Representative at Mobil Oil Corporation. It was then in the early 1970’s, that he decided he wanted to have his own business. In 1977, James was sponsored by the Buick Motor Division in Dallas, Texas to go through General Motors Development Academy – a leadership training program that would eventually train him to open and operate a General Motors retail new automobile dealership. It was in this program that he learned that if he connected with people on a very foundational level, nothing would stop him. James went onto to be the top car salesman at Ken Pruitt Buick and would eventually sell the most Buick vehicles in the 1980’s in the state of Texas. Eventually, James found his way into the restaurant business and in the 90’s was the very first black franchisee of both a KFC and Taco Bell Fast Food Restaurant in the State of Texas. His success would continue to multiply and in 2002, would be called upon to be the trailblazer of a new concept the “2 in 1” fast food restaurant when KFC would partner up with Taco Bell. All the while, his young son, Jonathan was looking on and learning from his hardworking father.

Fast forward and all grown up, Jonathan Miller has taken the leap of moving to the West Coast – a place where bright lights and dreams come true for entrepreneurs with big ideas. Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business from Pepperdine University. While in school he would develop a company called Recess that would connect college students with the music nightlife of Los Angeles. Upon graduating from school, Jonathan gained a diverse set of work experiences that taught him financial analytics, sales, fashion and tech development. He was a part of the early teams that developed what eventually would become and the dating application famously known as Tinder. All of this would eventually lead to Jonathan and his dad coming into business together forming, A NU-DAY LLC, opening their first franchised restaurant together – Papa Johns Westchester located on 5654 Manchester Avenue in 2019.

Their mission and goal with their restaurant: How can we leverage pizza as a way to impact and improve the local community. “When I first met James and Jonathan, I knew they were a special dynamic duo that were going to do something special. They understood that having a food establishment in the community was more than just feeding people. When people walked through the door, they were a part of their family. To this day when I go into Papa Johns Westchester, I see James, Jonathan and the staff team refer to their customers by name,” comments LAX Coastal CEO/President, Chad Maender.

James and Jonathan have built a small, but mighty team of 10 that helps run the Papa Johns in Westchester, but they have bigger dreams for how they can impact the local community. Approximately 12 months ago, Jonathan started a community benefit program to help area schools called “Split a Slice”. The concept is simple – an oversized slice of pizza for sale with half the proceeds going back to Papa Johns and the other half going right back to the school. Over the course of the first year in collaboration with St. Bernard’s High School, Papa Johns Westchester has helped them raise close to $20,000.

Be on the lookout for some new and innovative ideas from the team at Papa Johns – Westchester. They are hoping to improve the community one pizza at a time.

Just down the street from Papa Johns in Westchester is Airport Marina Counseling Service(AMCS), which is also doing some incredibly impactful and inclusive work at such a critical time in our LAX Coastal region. As the needs for mental health services continues to climb in Los Angeles, they are on the front line of the mission of ensuring every community, regardless of their ability to pay, has access to mental health services.

Airport Marina Counseling Service started in 1962, by a group of local community-based leaders that saw the need for local mental health services. Rumor had it that Mary Ellen Cassman was doing a routine drop off at Westchester High School and met a parent that needed counseling services. Mary Ellen learned that she was traveling 30 minutes each direction to a clinic. Mary Ellen went back to her husband, the late Alan “Bud” Cassman, and said we need to do something. The Cassmans, along with some other community members, pooled some funds together and started AMCS. From there the organization grew and grew. Mary Ellen Cassman, now 99 years old, still lives in Westchester and is involved in supporting the great work at AMCS.

Sixty years later, AMCS has morphed and changed with the times. Eight years ago, Eden Garcia-Balis took the reins of the organization to lead it through an important chapter of its history. AMCS is the perfect intersection for Eden as it brings community and mental health together. Eden believes her professional journey has prepared her for helping to elevate and continue to take AMCS to the next level. Eden’s career started as a Marriage and Family Therapist working in cities like Watts & Wilmington providing in-home services followed by an important stop as the Executive Director of Pasadena Mental Health Center.

Airport Marina Counseling Services provides important services to youth starting at age five all the way up to adults. Annually, AMCS serves 1,300 to 1,500 clients with an average of about six months of services. AMCS has continued to be a safe place for individuals of all ages and walks of life to gain the necessary support they need to thrive. 70% of all AMCS clients report that they have met and exceeded their goals after ending therapy.

Along with AMCS providing needed mental health services to the community, it also serves as a place for therapists to train to complete their hours for their certificate and degree programs. In 2018, this endeavor of being a training non-profit organization was taken a step further as an important partnership was formed with Antioch University working closing with LGBTQ+ community. Under the leadership of Dr. Mimi Hoang, the LGBTQIA+ Affirmative Therapy Center was born at AMCS. As one of the few centers in Los Angeles that specializes in psychotherapy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folks. The LGBTQIA+ Affirmative Therapy Center welcomes all cultures, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities. The Center has become so popular that individuals are sometimes waitlisted to be seen.

The service that AMCS provides is vast as it provides individual counseling, couples counseling, family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, in addition to on and off-site groups. AMCS also has partner organizations where they bring their services and programs out to the community at the Westchester Family YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club, The People Concern and Helen’s Room.

Eden shared that she is incredibly proud about how far AMCS has evolved, but knows there is still much to do. “We are recognizing the importance diversity plays in our community.” AMCS, along with many organizations, are standing up and playing a major role in supporting those needs. As a fluent, spanish speaking Latina, I am also grateful to see the diversity of our community continuing to change. The LAX Coastal region continues to be a melting pot of small businesses and large businesses that are helping bring economic prosperity.”

Small and diverse businesses are the heartbeat of our community and ultimately it is what makes Los Angeles what it is today. As the business community continues to emerge from the dark days of the pandemic, we know that the brightest of days are still ahead. We must all continue to be “change agents” for a better and more inclusive tomorrow.

Tacha Vilson Joins the LAX Coastal Team as Director of Programs and Events

We are excited to introduce our newest member of the LAX Coastal Chamber staff, Tacha Vilson. An entrepreneur herself, Tacha will be an incredible asset to the Chamber community, as our Director of Programs and Events.

Long before joining the Chamber staff, at just ten years old, Tacha Vilson pitched her first culinary business concept to Advent Product Development, “La Pomme Amour”, a specialty apple dessert. However, she was too young to fully develop the concept. By age 13, Tacha knew she wanted to be a CEO and applied to Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers in New York City. Despite receiving a rejection letter, Tacha was still determined to pursue her dreams. She called and set up an interview with the Assistant Principal and was accepted on the spot. It was from that moment, Tacha began her career in Marketing. 

Tacha Vilson has worked at some of the world’s leading advertising agencies and companies from Omnicom Media Group to Horizon Media, where she experienced firsthand the inner workings and customer-facing needs of television, network radio and digital marketing as well as corporate event management. Though she’s enjoyed an amazingly successful career, something was amiss. Her soul yearned for more purpose and creativity.

She followed her intuition and utilized her professional experiences, to take the entrepreneurial creative leap and started La Petite Taste. Tacha not only managed the marketing, events and production; she was also very hands-on with the development of the gluten-free recipes. Over the course of five years, Tacha has successfully created and executed several creative campaigns for La Petite Taste. 

Tacha is now looking forward to working with our community and getting to know all of you. “As an entrepreneur with corporate experience, I am excited to be a part of the LAX coastal team to work with businesses both big and small.”

Her first day was Monday, April 4, 2022.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Tacha joining our team as our next Director of Programs and Events at our LAX Coastal Chamber!” said LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce President/CEO, Chad Maender. “Tacha is a dynamic leader that is going to bring a new perspective to our organization. She is a true champion of small business and has an amazing entrepreneurial spirit. I feel her ideas will continue to help LAX Coastal be innovative and meet the everchanging business needs in our community.”

Please extend a warm welcome to Tacha.

LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Announces Transition

Los Angeles, CA – After 17 years at the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO Christina Davis has announced that she has accepted the position of Executive Director of The Gateway Los Angeles Property Business Improvement District (PBID). The BID oversees 40 properties adjacent to Los Angeles International Airport where property owners tax themselves to make their community cleaner, safer and more vibrant for visitors, employees and businesses. The Chamber Executive Committee is excited to announce that Chad Maender, Vice President of Membership, has been promoted to the role of President/CEO.

“The LAX Coastal Chamber and the communities we serve hold such a special place in my heart. The Chamber has made great strides during my time here, and it has truly become a force in supporting business and community in our area and beyond,” said Davis. “I am incredibly pleased with the work we have accomplished, but what I am most proud of is our financial stability, Leadership Academy program, and the formation of the LAX Coastal Education Foundation. I feel truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to lead the Chamber and work with some wonderful local business leaders.”

Christina started her career with the Chamber in December 2004 and was promoted to the role of President/CEO in April 2006. During her time at the Chamber, she has grown the organization’s budget, membership numbers and prestige, earning the LAX Coastal Chamber one of the L.A. Business Journal’s top 15 spots for Largest L.A. County Chambers and countless accolades, including AMCS’ Community Builder Award. Always working to promote members and the vitality of local business, she is responsible for launching a multitude of programs to support small and large businesses including LAX Coworking, State of LAX, Power Hour, Protectors’ Appreciation Week, City of Angels Awards Gala, DEI initiatives, Binge Live!, the LAX Coastal Magazine, increasing Corporate memberships and more. 

She also continued to grow the chamber’s community initiatives including the beloved LAX Coastal Fourth of July Parade and the Teacher Eddy Awards. During the pandemic when many chambers suffered, Christina led her team through navigating the quick move to virtual programming, creating a robust offering of ways businesses could connect, network and find support, while keeping the membership and budget stable. Most recently, Christina and incoming Board Chair, Joe Coleman have overseen the organization’s first comprehensive strategic plan, ensuring the organization continues to thrive, remain relevant, and most importantly, serve its 500+ membership. 

“Of course, none of our accomplishments could have happened without our amazing team, members and partners,” said Davis. “I could not be more pleased to have Chad step in as the President/CEO. He understands the issues of our businesses and the communities we serve. We have been working side by side since he joined this team and I know the transition will be seamless and the organization will prosper under his leadership.”

Over the last 17 years, Christina says the relationships that have been formed at the Chamber are what she values most.

“I always say our Chamber is about building relationships with people,” said Davis. “I have been honored to serve in this role and be able to connect so many wonderful people and businesses together to create a stronger community. In my new role at Gateway, I will continue to be an advocate and fierce supporter of the Chamber and its programs, including Leadership Academy.” 

Her last day with the Chamber will be January 14, 2022. 

“Christina has been a dynamic CEO and I know that our membership will miss her leadership in the organization,” said Board Chair, Rae Lamothe. “Under her leadership, the Chamber has flourished and become a vital organization for local businesses to join. Her leadership will be missed, but we know she will continue to contribute to the Chamber in new ways.”

Chad steps into the position with a wealth of experience as the Chamber’s current Vice President of Membership. He previously served as Executive Director of the Mid-Valley YMCA running an operating budget of over $3 million annually.

“We are excited to welcome Chad as the new Chamber’s President/CEO. We are confident in his ability to lead our Chamber. His focus over the past years has been to help businesses find their footprint in the community while growing the Chamber’s dynamic membership,” said Coleman. “Chad has accomplished this by creating value through innovative and relevant programs such as the Chamber’s Development, Design, and Construction Group and the Small Business Enterprise Program.”

“Shifting into the CEO role, I plan to build on the incredible foundation that Christina has built during her tenure,” said Maender. “Christina has left a profound impact on the many businesses and organizations across our community and has built this Chamber from the ground up. All of the great qualities of our organization came from the culture she created. It’s an exciting time in Los Angeles and in particular the LAX Coastal community as we are set to be the ‘front door’ to the world for the next 7 plus years. We will be maximizing our resources to be a relevant and strategic partner so that all of our businesses can thrive and benefit.”

The LAX Coastal will roll out its strategic plan in the first quarter of 2022.  The LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce has been serving the community since 1953 and currently serves over 550 members.

COVID-19: Online Resources for Your Business And Community

With uncertainty in the air and updates on the COVID-19 situation coming daily, it is important that our community stays well informed and connected. We encourage you to get the most local, accurate/fact-based information regarding Coronavirus. See the long list below for information divided into general information and updates, resources for business, and online resources that can be used to not skip a beat in business while most people are working remotely across the country. This page is being updated daily, if you have a valuable resource that you do not see on here, please share it in the comments.


The SBA has extended the deferral period for EIDL loans to 2 years from the date of funding for loans received in 2020.  The deferral period is 18 months from the funding period for EIDL loans received in 2021. Here is the link to the announcement:

Disaster Funding Links

EIDL application:

Shuttered Venues Grant:

Restaurant Relief Act:

Those not eligible for the grants include any state- or local-government-owned entities or owners who own more than 20 restaurants. However, most franchise operators will be eligible.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) will administer and disperse the RRF grants, but the program does not yet have a launch date.

See attachment from National Restaurant Association.

Restaurant owners need to prepare right away to apply.

All restaurant owners that want to apply for RRF grants should immediately register with the government using the System of Award Management (SAM).

To become active on the SAM system, you need to follow these steps:

  • First, create a user account
  • Sign up for a DUNS number (this typically takes 1-2 days to process)
  • Using your, DUNS number, and standard business info such as your Tax ID Number, register with SAM (it can take up to 2 weeks to get the SAM number)

Secondly, you should work with an accountant to prepare relevant paperwork that clearly shows your gross revenue loss in 2020 as compared to 2019.

California COVID 19 Economic Relief Grant:

Round 4 (nonprofit cultural institutions only): Tuesday, March 16th through Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021. Eligible applicants: Only nonprofit cultural institutions with any revenue size that meet eligibility criteria. Eligible grant award: $5,000 to $25,000

Details: Eligible nonprofit cultural institutions must complete a new application even if they already applied in Rounds 1 and 2; grants will only be available to nonprofits that did not receive funding in Rounds 1, 2 or 3; grants will be prioritized based on the documented percentage revenue declines based on a reporting period comparing Q2 and Q3 of 2020 versus Q2 and Q3 of 2019

Round 5: Thursday, March 25th through Wednesday, March 31st
Eligible applicants: current waitlisted small businesses and nonprofits not selected in Rounds 1, 2, or 3 and new applicants that meet eligibility criteria.
Eligible grant award: $5,000 to $25,000

Details: Applicants not selected to receive a grant in Rounds 1, 2, & 3 do not need to reapply as they will be automatically moved into Round 5. New applicants will need to apply on this website.

Round 6: Date to be announced soon
Eligible applicants: current waitlisted small businesses and/or nonprofits not selected in Rounds 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 and new applicants that meet eligibility criteria.
Eligible grant award: $5,000 to $25,000

Details: Applicants not selected to receive a grant in Rounds 1, 2, 3 & 5 do not need to re-apply and will be automatically moved into Round 6. New applicants will need to apply.

LA Found Grant:

See attachment for Round 4.  Application window opened March 15th.

Resources for Employers and Employees

Guidance for Employers – Plan and respond to the Coronavirus (source: United States Chamber of Commerce) 

Guidance for Employees/Employers – Mediation for workforce needs (source: California Employment Development Office) 

Guidance for Employers and Workers – Resources for employers and workers (source: CA Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA)) 

Employment Law Updates– Updates on legal employment issues (source: Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin)

Workplace Tips – Resources for employers to combat the Coronavirus (source: United States Chamber of Commerce) 

Hospitality Resources and Updates– Toolkits, updates, and more (source: Visit California)

Emergency Resources for Small Business– Resources for Federal and State Loans (source: LA County Consumer and Business Affairs)

Disaster Loan Assistance– Link to apply for financial assistance (source: US Small Business Administration)

Los Angeles Emergency Loan– Emergency Micro Loan Program from the Mayor (source: LA City)

Employer Regulations– Information to make sure you are following compliance (source: US Equal Employment Opportunity Commision)

Job Opportunities– Job opportunities available in LA (source: LA Jobs Portal)

Protecting Health Care Workers- Guidelines to protect health care workers from COVID-19 (source: Cal OSHA)

Tourism Updates– Updates on tourism in LA (source: Discover Los Angeles)

Online Resources to Use

Boosting Online Presence – A video about optimizing Google (source: Google)

Google for Small business Tools– Resources Google has that you can take advantage of (source: Google)

Recent Trends– Online trends around the country regarding Coronavirus (source: Google)

Complimentary G-Suite Package- A complimentary G-suite package up until July 1st (source: Google)

BAMit App– An app to connect your business to the community (source: BAMit)

How to Use Zoom– Everything you need to know about Zoom, a platform that allows you to host meetings online (source: Zoom)

Online Meetup Resources– How to use Meetup online (source: Meetup)

Remote Working on LinkedIn– How to optimize LinkedIn remotely (source: LinkedIn)

1 Month Free Resume Account- A Free 1 month from Novoresume (source: Novoresume)

General Information and Updates

LA City Updates– Updates from the Mayor and NotifyLA sign up (source: City of Los Angeles)

District 11 Updates– Updates from Councilmember Mike Bonin and his newsletter sign up (source: District 11 Office)

Water & Power Updates – A message from the DWP (source: Department of Water and Power)

In-depth Information– Overall stats and facts about COVID-19 (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

General Public Health– Public Health Information (source: County of Los Angeles Public Health

Information from Kaiser Permanente– Series of videos on COVID-19 (source: Kaiser Permanente)

Resources for Seniors– Program and Service Providers (source: Department of Aging)

Localized Support for Seniors– Meal deliveries, grocery runs, and support calls for seniors in our community (source: Westside Pacific Villages)

Resources for Students– Guidelines and Resources from LAUSD (source: LAUSD)

SoCalGas Updates– How SoCalGas is responding to the situation (source: SoCalGas)

Global Updates– Updates around the world (source: World Health Organization)

COVID-19 Testing Kit– Link to order a testing kit (source: Disease Detector)

Beach Cities Update– Update for Westside Cities (source: Beach Cities Health District)

Safe Activities in MdR- List of activities you can do while social distancing (source: MdR Convention and Visitors Bureau)

How Can You Help?

Volunteer Opportunities– A list of programs looking for volunteers (source: California Volunteers)

Donate to LA’s Emergency Fund– Link to donate money to the city (source: Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles)

Donate to a Relief Fund– Link to support unsheltered residents and low income individuals (source: United Way Greater Los Angeles)

Everyone please stay safe, and make sure you are taking all proper precautions to social distance yourself while still supporting local business. Now is a great opportunity for our community to unite and work together towards a common goal.

Power Professionals Helping Job Seekers Stay Connected

Upskill for the Job You Have and the Career You Want

As a Chamber, we know we have an important role to play in the recovery of our local economy. While we continue to work on supporting business-friendly legislation and funding programs to help get organizations back on track, we are also eager to offer support to job seekers by providing training and meaningful contacts in the community.

The Power Professionals program was formed to support individuals who have been taken out of the workforce due to furloughs and lay-offs by providing training, workshops, networking opportunities, resource boards, and more. With the support of LINXS and the Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation, we are excited to launch our spring programming.
Beginning on Wednesday, April 7, we will host the first of six sessions of our Power Professionals program presented by Leaderverse. The first informational session discusses the topic of Building Your Individual Brand! Even if you don’t own a business, you still own a brand – the brand called YOU! This session will help you discover who you are as a person and what you want your brand to represent. We will discuss personal branding, and the tools of dissemination, including LinkedIn, Facebook, as well as your resume. This workshop will give you the confidence of a consistent message across all platforms, whether you are moving up, over, or onto something new.

April 7 from 3 to 5 pm – Building Your Individual Brand Review and enhance self-representation on social media and resume. What’s your brand? 

April 21 from 3 to 5 pm – Presentation Skills How to thoughtfully use verbal, vocal, and visual communication of optimum results.

May 5 from 3 to 5 pm – Elevated People Skills Fostering relationships with Emotional Intelligence, collaboration, and conflict resolution skills. 

May 19 from 3 to 5 pm – Time Management Use productivity tools and approaches to drive daily decisions to support your highest values. 

June 2 from 3 to 5 pm – Stress ManagementIdentify techniques to help mitigate daily stress and manage high-energy situations. 

June 15 from 3 to 5 pm – Entrepreneurship Are you ready? Everything to consider, planning, potential pitfalls, and first steps.

*This training session is brought to you in partnership with the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce by Leaderverse, a collaboration between Midian, LLC and Woodhill Solutions.*


As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce is saddened by the number of Chamber businesses that have had to let go of staff and downsize their operations in order to survive. We pride ourselves in being a pillar in the community and a resource for businesses. We know we have a role to pay in the recovery of our economy and are eager to offer support to jobseekers, many of whom have become our friends and meaningful contacts in the community.

On November 1, the Chamber launched Power Professionals. This program was formed to support people who have been taken out of the workforce due to furloughs and lay-offs and will be a resource for individuals looking for employment. By providing training, workshops, networking opportunities, resource boards, and more, the LAX Coastal Chamber will work to help connect job seekers with training that include topics like, “Redefining your brand,” “Your 30-second pitch,” “How to use LinkedIn as a job searching tool,” and “What is your dream job?” As part of this program, we will be creating a Job Board that will allow Chamber members to post jobs and jobseekers to search for available career opportunities (both the government and private sector) in and around the LAX Coastal area and the Resource Board will include information on building your resume, starting a business or learning a new trade.

The Chamber is a place where businesses go to connect and collaborate. We are looking beyond our businesses to support individuals seeking employment to help strengthen their circles of influence and polish their networking skills. For a small month to month fee of $25, individuals will have access to the benefits of the Chamber and the resources of Power Professional.

For more information, contact LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce, Business Relations Manager, Kelli Trombley at