Chamber Board Holds Holistic View


January 18, 2019


headerIt’s been just six months since I was named Chair of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau’s Board of Directors –a period that turned out to be one of the most consequential in Sedona’s recent history. We voted to support Home Rule; hundreds spoke out on our Sustainable Tourism Plan; the Chamber and the City dedicated our scheduled marketing budget increase to traffic improvement; our annual meeting revealed tremendous business growth and increased visitor-based tax revenues, and we enjoyed a beautiful holiday season – complete with the Chamber’s incredible Sedona Northern Lights program.

The start of 2019 is a good time to talk about the role our all-volunteer Chamber Board plays in assisting one of Sedona‘s most vital institutions.

The 850-plus Chamber partners select the Board. Today’s 15-member team features seasoned upper management and equity-position businessmen and women, assisted by an excellent Chamber executive staff.

Once on the Board, and if re-elected, the path from Director to Chair involves 1-2 years as a Director, 2-3 years on the Executive Committee, and 1-2 years as Vice Chair.

The Executive Committee works with Chamber President/CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff to discuss issues that require full Board attention, which she and her staff present for possible action. My job is to ensure a thorough discussion and to oversee the Board’s voting procedures. In the end, Board members are fully-informed — ready to represent the Chamber’s adopted positions. The Board also provides valuable input and direction to the Chamber staff. It’s a team environment.

I have had ample opportunity to observe Jennifer conduct Chamber business at the highest standards, producing excellent results. Due to her extraordinary competence, the Board is efficient and effective.

In a larger sense, the Chamber takes a holistic view of our role and responsibilities. We share a beautiful community, and we all want the same outcome – the highest quality of life in a world-renowned place, responsibly managed for sustainability.

I have purposefully lived in popular tourist destinations my entire adult life, Tahoe for18 years; the Hawaiian Islands for five years, and Sedona 23 years. I have seen communities wrestle with the benefits and costs of tourism. When I arrived in Sedona in the mid-90s, traffic was already a concern.

Today, we are on the verge of a comprehensive, flexible Sustainable Tourism Plan with the potential to serve as a national and international model for tourism management – balancing the environment, quality of life, economic necessity and visitor experience.

Our commitment to sustainable tourism management is evident in our mission statement: “To serve the community by making Sedona the best place to live, work, play and visit.”

2019 will be another exciting, historic year for the Chamber and Sedona – I hope you will stay informed and engaged as we move forward together.

–Stephanie Giesbrechtsteph2018-cropped