May 22, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Up Front with Alexander Stettinski – Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce executive director

Alex Stettinski.
Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce executive director Alexander Stettinski.

Alexander Stettinski is Executive Director of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce.  He brings more than a decade worth of marketing experience with a strong focus on business communities to his role as Executive Director.

His diversified career portfolio includes work with organizations serving the needs of many different constituencies.

Prior to the Chamber, he provided strategic direction and leadership for all marketing and communications related activities at the Downtown Center Business Improvement District (DCBID) to brand, position, and promote downtown Los Angeles.

In addition, he assisted the Central City Association (CCA), a membership-driven business advocacy organization, by cultivating new members and communicating with existing members.

Prior to his work with DCBID, Alex worked as the Executive Director of the Avenues of Art & Design BID, where he oversaw the development and implementation of all marketing strategies, strategic alliances with corporate sponsors, streetscape and parking, merchant and City relations, media relations, and the district’s annual signature event.

He increased revenue by more than 300 percent within the first three years, mainly through aggressive cultivation of corporate sponsorships.

Throughout his career Stettinski has successfully tackled complex relationships with various stakeholders, including a diverse Board of Directors and merchant community.

He has been able to develop strong relations with City Council members, other City officials, and worked closely with various commissions and committees to further the mission and goals of business communities. He was educated in Germany and finished his MA in Berkeley, CA.

He has been a Beverly Hills resident for more than 18 years, and he is excited to now be part of the city’s business community as well.

What makes the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce unique?

It’s a unique Chamber for two reasons really if I think about it. In addition to our economic development, government affairs, networking and educational programs, we have a very strong outreach program that connects residents with the business community – that’s a very unique thing. Chambers, all Chambers basically, do events and mixers, they do things to promote business within a city, they do advocacy for their members and for the business community at large, but not all Chambers really have that strong of a program to connect the resident community with the business community. We developed a platform called My Beverly Hills. There’s a website, there’s a newsletter, and there are gatherings – two so far, with over 200 people attending. The residents and our members love that program. We are very proud of doing this to really be a bridge between the residents and the business community that oftentimes in communities could be an area of tension.
The second unique feature about the Beverly Hills Chamber is its partnership with the City of Beverly Hills. The Chamber is almost as old as the City of Beverly Hills itself, and the founding fathers of the city were also involved in setting up the Chamber almost 100 years ago. The Beverly Hills Chamber has been part of the fabric of the city since its inception, and it still holds true today. The Chamber operates as a contractor to the City on several economic Development programs and other programs the Chamber plans and executes on behalf of the City. For many years, for example, the Chamber has produced an annual New York Mission, which has successfully helped attract and retain unique businesses in Beverly Hills.

How did the My Beverly Hills program evolve?

It started out as a Shop Local campaign. The city was very much behind it and they helped fund the initiative. We developed it, and it became very successful. We then decided together with council that the program should be broader.  It shouldn’t just be about shopping and the shop local had sort of a very very local and single-minded connotation. We really wanted to include all of Beverly Hills and engage residents with the business community, so we renamed it My Beverly Hills and created a broader lifestyle platform for residents. It’s not just about shopping it’s not just about learning about new businesses it’s also about residents being able to contribute and be an active part of it.  It’s been incredibly successful.

The Beverly Hills Chamber is in the process of creating two political action committees (PACs). Can you share a little bit about that?

It’s a trend, in the Chamber community that the PACs are slowly coming back so Chambers and its respective communities to have a stronger impact when it comes to political decisions. The Beverly Hills chamber never had a PAC as far as I know. We decided to create one at the request of businesses, of chamber members, but also residents and City Hall. We talked to City Council members who encouraged us. They were asking why we aren’t more engaged when it comes to political decisions. It took us over a year to come up with a formula that is sensible and respectful to our specific environment. It’s a small community and we need to navigate very carefully and sensibly. But it enables us to take a position if we have to or if we want to promote or endorse a particular position or candidate that is especially business friendly. Since the PACs are completely separate from the Chamber’s operating budget – they have their own Board and take care of their own funding – we are ensuring that there will never be a conflict of interest for any of the Chamber’s stakeholders.

What stage is this at?

It’s basically coming together as we speak. It’s still in its infancy stages, and the details will still be molded and shaped and hopefully there will be some visibility within the next year or so.

Can you share a little bit about the Chamber’s relationship with the City of Beverly Hills?

As I mentioned above, it is a very unique chamber in that regard. The Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce and the City of Beverly Hills historically have had a very close relationship, much closer than chambers in other cities often have, at least what I’ve observed. The relationship is amicable and very partner like. The City of Beverly Hills has been contracting the Chamber as an agency, which fulfills a work program on its behalf. The city pays the chamber for that program, and it is a priority for the Chamber as a contractor to always demonstrate a great return on the city’s investment.

You joined the Chamber as executive director a little over three years ago. Can you share a little bit more about your background?

I’ve been a resident of Beverly Hills for a little over 18 years. So I’ve known the city but I’ve never worked in the city until I joined the Chamber. Before that I was the director of marketing communications for downtown LA, I worked for one of the largest business improvement districts BIDs in California, the downtown center of BID, and did that for over three years and really was part of the renaissance of downtown LA. Before that, I ran a Business Improvement District in West Hollywood for about six years. So I have been involved in building and engaging community for many years.

As a longtime resident of Beverly Hills, can you share what you love most about living in the city?

What I love most is also what I struggled with the most, and that is the passion of the city.  It is a very passionate environment.  It’s beautiful to see how much the residents and the business community care about the city. The city is one of the most beautiful areas in greater Los Angeles.  If you drive through Beverly Hills, you know you’re in Beverly Hills. It’s clean, it’s beautiful, it’s safe. People truly care. That also creates an environment of strong opinions and strong quarrels at times, and the chamber sometimes finds itself in the middle of it, which makes that job particularly interesting but also challenging at times.

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