The Santa Clarita Valley business community gathered virtually recently to celebrate the SCV Chamber of Commerce’s 98th annual Virtual Awards & Installation.
“Even though 2020 was a roller coaster of a year, and we still can’t yet be together in person, we felt it was more important than ever to ensure we’re all here together this evening to honor our business community as a whole,” John Musella, chamber spokesman, said as he introduced the livestreamed program.
Guests were able to do just that as they joined the chamber for a virtual cocktail hour, with the opportunity to use a chat feature to connect with other attendees during the program.
In attendance were some special guests, including Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, who honored Nancy Starczyk as the outgoing chair of the chamber’s board of directors before the award presentations began.
Among those honored during the program was the Boys & Girls Club of SCV, which was awarded Nonprofit of the Year for its work as an essential resource for the youth community throughout Santa Clarita, providing remote learning support, social and emotional support, and child care through the pandemic, according to award presenter Troy Hooper, former chair of the chamber board.
“The Boys & Girls Club is truly a community organization, so for all of the individuals and businesses, which is all of you, who have donated and supported the club, this award is also for you,” added Matt Nelson, CEO of the club. “Your impact is making a difference.”
Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, helped install the 2021 board of directors, which he said is the most diverse board in the chamber’s 90-year history, with women making up 45%, 41% being people of color and 10% representing the LGBTQ community, as well as two foreign-born entrepreneurs.
Cheri Fleming, who died in November after years of service to the business and philanthropic communities, was posthumously awarded the inaugural Heart of the Community Award, named for her dedication to the SCV community through the years.
Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, also participated, helping to swear in John Vance as the new chair of board.
In addition to Cheri Fleming, many of the SCV’s business leaders were honored with awards this year to recognize their dedication to the community through the pandemic, including:
Public Service Award: L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger
Rising Star Award: One True North.
Entrepreneurial Spirit Award: SchlickArt Photography and Video Services.
Business of the Year: UV Resources.
Pandemic Leadership Awards
This year, in addition to the regular slate of awards, the SCV Chamber honored six nominees with a Pandemic Leadership Award for leadership displayed during the pandemic: Cameron Smyth, city of Santa Clarita councilman; Evolve Business Strategies; Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital; Princess Cruises; The Signal; Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewery.