Oct. 12, 2021

Connecting Through the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce with Kathleen McNary

Find out more about the Chamber: https://carlsbad.org

On this episode of the Carlsbad People, Purpose, and Impact Podcast, Bret Schanzenbach spoke with the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce’s very own Vice President of Member Relations, Kathleen McNary. Not only does she have an extensive background in international business and marketing, she is also a relational powerhouse as she connects with people and helps businesses succeed. She and Bret talk about how she became a part of the Chamber’s family, the Chamber’s new membership platform, and the various committees that members can join.

Driven to Help People: How Kathleen McNary Became Part of the Chamber

Born and raised in Tucson, AZ, Kathleen McNary moved to San Diego to study international business at San Diego University. She studied abroad in Chile and began working in international business for a DirectTV company after she graduated. During this time, she worked with people from all over the world. Over time, she transitioned to another job at a digital marketing company, but when that company merged, she took a marketing job with LendSpark in Carlsbad.

Eventually, LendSpark asked Kathleen to represent them at the Chamber of Commerce. She attended one of the Chamber’s First Friday Breakfasts, which “was a blast.” After representing her company for four months, a Chamber employee informed her that they had a position opening up and that they would love for her to join their team. Although the opportunity sounded incredible, Kathleen initially declined, because she had only been at her job for five months. However, the following day her bosses told her that they were shutting down the office and that they had to let her go. She immediately called the Chamber and began working there in a matter of weeks.

Almost eight years later, Kathleen is still a vital member of the Carlsbad Chamber family. “It is a lot of work,” she admits. “The foundation of it is working with people… I love connecting people.” She has held various roles at the Carlsbad Chamber, but she currently works as the Vice President of Member Relations. “People from all sized businesses, all different industries will come to me with a different need… I'm the first one that takes it on and helps get anything done for whomever is asking.” This can include, among other things, helping businesses post job opportunities, attain certificates of origin, or find a real estate agent.

Kathleen’s passion for her work with the Chamber is evident. “[I am able] to connect those in need with those who can provide and those who can help make changes, as needed. That's what we do. We're a catalyst for change [and a] champion of growth.”

Meeting Businesses’ Needs: The Chamber’s Membership Structure & Committees

Recently, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce changed its membership structure, so it can serve businesses better. In the past, membership costs were calculated according to the size of the business. Everyone received the same benefits, but membership fees varied according to the number of employees businesses had. In order to serve its members most effectively, the Chamber radically changed its membership structure. Now, they offer three tiers, so that businesses can pay according to the benefits they need.  

  • Connector: This tier covers the basics of membership, which includes attending happy hours at a discounted rate, being listed in the online and printed directory, certificates of origin, and involvement in the Chamber’s committees.
  • Catalyst: In addition to the benefits of the Connector Tier, this provides enhanced business listings, which increases referrals. Businesses also receive free admission for two people to happy hours (instead of a discounted rate) and a free ad on the Carlsbad website for two months.
  • Champion: This is the top tier, which includes everything in the Connector and Catalyst Tiers, and also offers two free e-newsletter sponsorships, which are sent out each week to everyone on the Chamber’s mailing list. Additionally, businesses are listed as a sponsor for the Carlsbad Chamber’s podcast, their logo is on the front page of the Chamber’s annual printed directory, they are given a leaderboard ad space at the top of the Chamber’s website for a month, and can be listed in up to five categories on the Chamber’s website, which means that the business is included on five pages of the Chamber’s website.   

Part of what Kathleen does is speaking with people who are interested in membership. “I want to learn about you as a person and what your business is [and] what you're looking to achieve,” she says.

After businesses become members, one of the best ways they can get connected with other members is through the Chamber’s committees. The Chamber has a variety of committees that members can join. “[The committee] doesn't have to be something actually related to your business. It could be just something you are personally interested in,” Kathleen assures. “Becoming involved in the committee… is a way for [people] to build relationships and help further build their connectivity in the city.”

Each of the Chamber’s committees is special, but one that is particularly close to Kathleen’s heart (and that she directly serves as the Chamber liaison) is the Carlsbad Young Professionals. This committee is geared towards young professionals, who meet once a month to network, grow together, and build relationships. 

Certainly, the Chamber provides the context for unique connections, as it meets the needs of businesses and seeks to serve business leaders, employees, and consumers.

Want to learn more about becoming involved in the Chamber? Find out more or reach out to Kathleen below!

Interview Links

Learn more about Carlsbad here https://carlsbad.org/ 

Connect with Kathleen on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathleenmcnary/ 

Find the Chamber on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CarlsbadChamber 

Follow the Chamber on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/carlsbadchamber/ 

Reach out to the Chamber on Twitter https://twitter.com/ChamberCarlsbad 

Check out the Chamber’s YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/carlsbadchamber 


Did you like what you heard? This show is produced by Imagine Podcasting dba Heard Not Seen Media, Inc. For more, visit Imagine Podcasting https://www.imaginepodcasting.com/