Playa Studios was the site of the black-tie dinner held for the Culver City Chamber of Commerce annual Installation Gala on Jan. 24, 2020. Not only were new board members sworn in, Chamber President Colin Diaz gave some well deserved awards to business owners and CEO’s who had made Culver City’s list of notables.
The evening began with a cocktail hour, hosted by Board member Chris Harris’ Hi-Lo Liquor, and a silent auction. Dinner was served by Alan Schulman of Akasha, featuring some crowd-pleasing pasta and chicken piccata. Diaz took to the stage with ebullient energy, welcoming the crowd and offering thanks for all who had put their time and their talents into the Chamber in 2019.
The 2019 President’s Award was bestowed on Tim Dodd of Sweet Flower, who was unaware he’d be in the spotlight. “Wow, gosh, I’d no idea I going to be awarded tonight. What a very lovely surprise.”
The 2019 Chair’s Award went to David Voncannon, of D&E Associates, a long-time Chamber member who has served in a number of board positions.
Highlighting the “Ambassadors” program, the 2019 Ambassador of the Year was given to Candance Simmons, All That & More Boutique. The Ambassadors of 2020 include Eric Carr of Home Instead Senior Care, Rafia Cooper of the Cooper Collective, David Crown and Jason Fineis of Stay Frosty Media, Marissa Helstowski of Benett Gaynor Sustainable Staffing, Monica Razuleu-Munoz of the Eagle West Group, and Mojdeh Zavosh of Shine From Within.
Not all of the evening’s awards came from the administration; the community votes tallied up to give 2019 Community Partner of the year to Tower Insurance, Inc., and the 2019 Legacy of Service to Jerry & Janet Chabola. As the Chabolas were not in attendance, it was a simple step for Janice Beighey of Tower Insurance to give thanks on behalf of her parents.
Culver City’s favorite gift shop, Lundeen’s picked up the final honor of the evening, the 2019 Business of the Year.
Kristin Cavanaugh of Sony Pictures Entertainment will be taking the helm as the new Board President, with the twenty other members of the board representing the breadth of local business, from individual entrepreneurs to international corporations.
Diaz, launching into his third year as the Chamber’s chief executive, urged the community to “look to the Chamber as the epicenter of access, for resources, relationships and answers.” Noting that this was the 99th anniversary of the Chamber of Commerce, “We have some wonderful things in our past, and we are planning many more wonderful things in the future.”
Photo caption – Tim and Stefania Dodd, with the President’s Award for Sweet Flower