• a man holding an award and a woman smiling

      Rabbi Joshua Levine-Grater receives Corporate Citizen plaque from Katelyn Barchowsky (Photo – Lyd and Mo Photography)

      The Viennese Ballroom at The Langham Huntington Hotel was the setting for the annual Pasadena Chamber Inaugural Gala on June 28, 2024.

       By News Desk

      At 7:30 pm, Chamber of Commerce members and guests were ushered into the ballroom of the Langham Huntington Hotel for an elegant dinner and festive program. Dinner began with baby arugula and frisee salad with grape and hazelnut relish and hazelnut balsamic. The main course was grilled beef tenderloin with port wine demi-glace and braised garlic shrimp. Dessert was a lemon cream tart with key lime meringue, fresh raspberries and raspberry Yuzu sherbet. Dinner was accompanied by a selection of French and California wines.

      Guests included Congresswoman Judy Chu, State Senator Anthony Portantino, Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo, and Pasadena Councilmember Felicia Williams. Pasadena Center Operating Company CEO Mike Ross; Langham Huntington Hotel Managing Director and Regional Vice President Shane Pateman, and Craig Washington who will be president of the Tournament of Roses for 2030, joined current and former Chamber Board members at the event.

      Outgoing Chair Don Schweitzer of Schweitzer Law Partners began the program by offering remarks about his tenure. “I am happy to report that the Chamber has gained more than 100 new members since last August,” he remarked. State Senator Anthony Portantino then swore in Katelyn Barchowsky of Storied Lane Marketing as Chair of the Chamber Board of Directors for 2024-25.

      a woman next to a podium with a man speaking

      Sen. Portantino swearing Barchowsky, 2024 (Photo – Lyd and Mo Photography)

      In accepting the responsibility, Ms. Barchowsky noted that, “I am honored to serve as this year’s Chair of the Board of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce. As the youngest person to step into this role, I am looking forward to leading and serving alongside a dedicated, engaged, and committed Board of Directors and staff.”

      “As we look to the year ahead, we are focused on meeting the needs of our entire membership: large and small, across all backgrounds, industries, and sectors. This means continuing beloved signature services while also innovating to welcome the next generation of business leaders.,” Ms. Barchowsky said.

      “The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce is an incredibly special and vital organization in our city,“ Ms. Barchowsky noted. “I have always felt that way as a member, and I also feel fortunate to have seen it up close as Vice Chair of Member Services. When speaking to new members, I like to share my experience as essentially a poster child for how the Chamber can work for you when you invest your time in building relationships. About 85% of my clients come directly from Chamber events and referrals, and we even bought our first home with a Chamber realtor from a Chamber member last year.”

      Ms. Barchowsky was accompanied by her husband, Ansel, and her parents Gail and Jay Harris who came from Pittsburg, PA, for the event, as well as a number of friends.

      Pasadena Chamber Board members

      Ms. Barchowsky swore in Pasadena Chamber Board members. New Board member Seamus Gray of Pacific Premier Bank took the oath along with returning members Thomas Daly of Lewis Roca, George Falardeau of Pasadena Media, David Klug of the City of Pasadena, John Leano of BRYAN’S Cleaners, Nerissa Sugars of Hollywood Burbank Airport, Ishmael Trone of F&M Business Centers and Stephanie Yamashiro of New York Life. Ms. Barchowsky also administered the oath to the Executive Committee members Mike Antenesse of Foothill Unity Center, Lynelle Bryant of MasBuild, Inc., Emilio Padilla-Larios of the Langham Huntington Hotel, Don Schweitzer of the Schweitzer Law Firm, and Justin Tsui of TeamLogicIT.

      People gathering around a table

      The Bakewell Company and guests (Photo – Lyd and Mo Photography)

      2024 Corporate Citizen of the Year awards

      A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2024 Corporate Citizen of the Year awards to The Bakewell Company and Friends in Deed.

      “As a community activist, Danny Bakewell, Sr. was instrumental in bringing ideas of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to Pasadena and some of our more traditional institutions,” Ms. Barchowsky noted. “The Bakewell Family and the Bakewell Company keep pushing for justice and equity for everyone in our community.”

      Rabbi Joshua Levine-Grater accepted the Corporate Citizen of the Year award on behalf of Friends in Deed. In presenting the award, Ms. Barchowsky noted that over its 130 year history, Friends in Deed “has brought people together to do what cannot be done alone.”

      Currently, Friends in Deed operates The Food Pantry providing food assistance to more than 600 low-income and no-income families in the greater Pasadena and Altadena area each week. With The Women’s Room, they provide a daytime refuge to 35 to 40 women who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. And, Friends in Deed also has a street outreach team that engaged nearly 300 individuals and resulted in 150 individuals no longer living on the streets of Pasadena.

      People holding an oversized check

      (L-R) Katelyn Barchowsky, George Falardeau, Ishmael Trone, and Deana_Mendez (Photo – Lyd and Mo Photography)


      Scholarships were also presented to emancipated foster youth to support their university studies. Bill Bogaard Scholarships were given to Deana Mendez and Robert Leagons. Ms. Mendez will be pursuing a graduate degree in social work at Azusa Pacific University. Mr. Leagons will be working toward a Master’s in Clinical Psychology at Texas Southern University.

      Pasadena Chamber also presented a scholarship check to Daniel Bisuano to support his undergraduate education at CalStateLA. Mr. Bisuano, who spent seven years in the juvenile justice system and is now pursuing a degree in English noted that the scholarship was particularly meaningful for him since, “people don’t usually step up to support people like me, people who spent time in the system, as we work to create a better future for ourselves.”

      Since 1888, when the organization was founded as the Board of Trade, the Chamber’s primary purpose has been the enhancement of both the business climate and the quality of life in Pasadena. The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce currently serves 1250 members.

      A group of people posing for a photo

      Chair Katelyn Barchowsky and Husband Ansel with family and guests (Photo – Lyd and Mo Photography)

      We hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, please consider supporting the Colorado Boulevard’s journalism.

      Some wealthy, hedge fund owners, and local journalistic charlatans, have a powerful hold on the information that reaches the public. Colorado Boulevard stands to serve the public interest – not profit motives.

      While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and climate crisis while supporting reproductive rights and social justice. We provide a fresh perspective on local politics – one so often missing from so-called ‘local’ journalism.

      You can access Colorado Boulevard’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. People like you, informed readers, keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence, and accessible to everyone.

      Please consider supporting Colorado Boulevard today. Thank you. (Click to Support)


      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *