The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce Hires Mark Berson as New C.E.O.

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Mark Berson will join the Chamber as its new Chief Executive Officer to lead the organization through a new era of growth and expansion. Mr. Berson’s selection was made after reviewing over 100 applicants for the position and was approved by the Berkeley Chamber Search Committee and the Board of Directors.

The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce announced today that Mark Berson will join the Chamber as its new Chief Executive Officer to lead the organization through a new era of growth and expansion. Mr. Berson’s selection was made after reviewing over 100 applicants for the position and was approved by the Berkeley Chamber Search Committee and the Board of Directors. Mr. Berson comes to the Berkeley Chamber from Mobile, Alabama. Mr. Berson’s strong background includes working in state government, leading a large regional chamber of commerce and running (and growing) a family business for many years. Mr. Berson's start date is January 15, 2010.

Berkeley Chamber President Jonathan DeYoe said, "Mark will bring a unique combination of civic experience and business leadership from his work in state government, as head of a regional chamber and in growing his family’s business." Jonathan added, "From our conversations with his references, including the former Democratic governor of Alabama, we found that Mark was an inspiring leader and creative marketer. We believe he will bring a collaborative approach to growing business, building Chamber membership and in understanding the needs of the local community.”

Prior to coming to the Berkeley Chamber, Berson served for six years as the President and CEO of the Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Shores, Alabama, where he significantly expanded membership from 730 to over 1,000 members in this mostly tourism-focused economy. Prior to that he served as the Executive Director of the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel, bringing in vacationers from throughout the United States and abroad, which had significant impact on the state economy. He helped produce the Annual National Shrimp Festival, attended by 300,000 people, which created an economic impact of $28 million and a net profit of $240,000 for the State. Prior to this, he was the president and owner of Raphael’s a clothing store in Mobile, Alabama, a family owned business for several generations, where he doubled sales to $3 million in over two years. In addition, Mr. Berson brings years of experience working for several advertising agencies in New York City.

According to Berson, "This position offers enormous potential to build value for Chamber members and the local Berkeley community. Small and large businesses, along with the university, bring an amazing diversity of assets to this wonderful city. I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work here.”

About the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce
The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce advocates on behalf of Chamber members and the business community at large in Berkeley, CA and the surrounding region. We are an independent non-profit 401C6 organization. The primary goal of all of the Chamber's activities is to improve Berkeley's business climate, to bring benefit to the community by encouraging jobs and commerce and to support culture and the arts. We endeavor to build a stronger local and regional economy and to ensure that business is at the table in the process of making public policy decisions. It is our belief that a strong economic foundation is absolutely essential; in the same way, Hope is essential to a truly great community. It is our ultimate aim to contribute to that economic foundation.

Media Contact:
Jonathon DeYoe, Board President                    
1834 University Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94703

Berkeley Chamber of Commerce
1834 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94703

Phone: (510) 549-7000
Fax: (510) 549-1789

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