The Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce announced in May the appointment of Maria Salinas as the Chamber’s new President and CEO, effective August 1, 2018. Salinas will be the first female leader in the organization’s history. Current President and CEO Gary Toebben will retired last week after leading the Chamber for 12 years.
Salinas brings to the LA Chamber an ability to understand the needs, challenges and aspirations of businesses of all types and sizes based on her extensive private sector experience ranging from corporations to start-ups in a cross-section of industries. Her decades of financial expertise and business management includes experience in leading both major Southern California corporations and small businesses in corporate governance, audit and compliance, and regulatory matters. She is currently the President and Founder of Salinas Consulting, a finance and accounting project management firm.
Prior to launching her business in 2006, Salinas held financial leadership roles at The Walt Disney Company for nearly 11 years. She also developed public accounting experience working with Ernst & Young LLP. In addition to serving as Director and former Chairwoman of ProAmérica Bank, Salinas is the Chair of the Board of Regents at Loyola Marymount University, her alma mater. She also serves on the Board of Directors at UnidosUS and brings deep ties to the local education community with a board position at Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine.
“Maria has the unique combination of financial acumen and sound leadership skills paired with an entrepreneurial spirit that makes her the perfect choice to lead the Chamber,” said Michelle Kerrick, Board Chair for the Chamber. “On top of this, she has deep community involvement and an insurmountable passion for seeing this city prosper well into the future. As a lifelong Angeleno, we are confident Maria will champion diversity and bring our communities closer together.”
Salinas’ varied experience in the private sector with a major corporation, as an entrepreneur, a corporate director and community and civic leader, along with her clear leadership skills and passion for Los Angeles made her the unanimous choice of a Search Committee comprised of members of the Chamber’s Executive Committee of the Board of Directors as well as independent non-chamber members.
“As the first new president of the Chamber in over 12 years, we didn’t want to leave any stone unturned in our search for the best candidate, said Jerry Neuman, Co-Chair of the Search Committee and incoming Board Chair for the Chamber. “Over the past six months, we conducted an expansive national search to obtain a wide variety of qualified candidates and sought input from all key stakeholders on the characteristics and qualifications they’d like to see in the next president,” Neuman continued. As we went through this process, it was clear that we had found our president in Maria as she met all of these qualifications and more.”
“I am excited and honored for the opportunity to build upon the great progress the Chamber has made in Los Angeles and lead it into its next chapter,” said Salinas. “Throughout my career, I have used my financial expertise and business acumen to lead and create change and make a lasting impact both in business and in the community. I look forward to working alongside the talented staff and Board of Directors to continue to carry out the Chamber’s important mission of championing economic prosperity and quality of life for the Los Angeles region.”
In addition to her professional experience, Salinas is active in many charities and civic organizations and is known for her history of community engagement. She is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce, National Latina Business Women’s Association, Women’s Corporate Directors and the Latino Corporate Directors Association.
Salinas holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Loyola Marymount University earned her Certified Public Accountant designation in 1989. Salinas lives in Pasadena with her husband and four children.
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber is the oldest and largest business association in Los Angeles County. It’s 1600 member companies work together to promote a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.
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