As the incoming President of the Ripon Chamber of Commerce, I am extremely excited to lead this organization into the next chapter in 2019. I am eager to achieve the vision and goals laid out by my predecessor, but I will also endeavor to seek out necessary improvements and take on future challenges as they arise with the changing needs of businesses as well as the community.

I did not grow up in Ripon, but I am not totally unfamiliar with the customs and traditions that make this town unique and vibrant. My mother’s family, the Hartkamps, owned the Ripon Bakery on Main Street for many years. It is inspiring to return to my familial roots and see all the ways Ripon has grown and changed for the better.

As a newcomer to The Ripon Chamber of Commerce, I didn’t fully understand the vital and dynamic role this organization plays in this distinctively tightknit community. The Ripon Chamber works directly with businesses to provide advertising opportunities in both online and print media, networking possibilities through our monthly coffees and mixers, and helps coordinate the celebration of special occasions like ribbon cuttings and ground breakings. The Chamber has formed the Ambassador Committee, Downtown Committee, Economic Development Committee, and Government Relations Committee, in an effort to engage our members as well as the Ripon community, help determine the business needs that best fit Ripon residents, and advocate politically on behalf of the business community. Lastly, the Chamber hosts events which encourage tourism and economic activity, such as the Almond Blossom Festival, Taste of Ripon, Main Street Day, and Brews and Bites.

The collaboration, cooperation, and communication with the Ripon community creates an environment that improves lives and allows business to grow. As the year progresses I look forward to rising to meet the challenges which are sure to emerge, and know we will be successful in delivering another great year of connecting with the community and helping business thrive.

Kelly Donohue