As the San Marcos community grows and evolves, the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce is growing too. New resources and opportunities help the hardworking chamber team promote a positive business climate and foster connections between businesses, organizations, and individuals. The team, the board of directors, and President/CEO Pam Rumer are united in their mission to support members and enrich the region. 92078 Magazine spoke with Pam to learn more about recent achievements and the road ahead.
Q&A President/CEO Pam Rumer
What is the chamber’s mission?
The chamber serves as the best resource for its members to promote a positive business climate, economy, and quality of life.
How does the chamber go about fulfilling that mission?
By promoting the collective business community; heightening awareness of individual businesses; and hosting events that let businesses directly connect with other businesses and individuals. The chamber fosters connections through member-to-member referral programs, online request for proposal forms, emails, phone calls, promotion materials in the office, and word-of-mouth.
The chamber further promotes a positive business climate and quality of life by using chamber products and services to promote the City of San Marcos, individual businesses, the collective business community, and chamber events, and to disperse information about the San Marcos region. The chamber’s outreach utilizes the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce website, social media, our e-Newsletter, print and digital advertising, press releases, affinity programs, and partnerships.
What communities does the San Marcos Chamber serve?
The San Marcos Chamber of Commerce serves the City of San Marcos, Lake San Marcos, unincorporated San Diego County areas, North County, and San Diego communities. Any business may choose to join one or more chambers of commerce depending upon the areas they wish to reach.
What services does the chamber provide to members and the community?
The chamber website provides free digital business profiles for over 4,000 businesses licensed within the City of San Marcos. The listing includes the business’ name, address, phone number, and SIC category listed on the City of San Marcos business license. This listing permits the chamber website to function as a business directory for the general public. Listings display both on the chamber website and in search engine results. The website’s analytic code shows that searches for business information originate locally, nationally, and internationally.
When we receive business referral requests, we provide chamber business member information via email or phone. To ensure each member business surfaces in the desired category and with the appropriate products or services, each business should login to the member’s only resource center to maximize their digital listing with custom content. You can upload or link to press releases, photographs, video, social media links, additional contact information, and reviews.
Members can also display business cards and flyers at the chamber office. Local news publications and business literature is available at no charge to the general public. Walk-ins may include local residents and businesses, as well as residents and businesses looking for information before visiting or moving to the area. The chamber also mails packets of information out of the area for a processing fee.
Businesses join because they understand and fully appreciate the strong SEO value a chamber of commerce earns from search engines such as Google and Bing, due to search engines acknowledging a chamber’s expertise in local business verification. The San Marcos Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Google to leverage this opportunity, which is another reason the chamber strongly encourages members to fully fill out their chamber websiteprofiles.
What networking opportunities are available through the chamber?
Existing and prospective members can build relationships by attending networking opportunities to share ideas, tips, and referrals. The more people know about your business, the more business you are likely to do! The chamber has several new networking opportunities which have been well received by members. These networking opportunities are all open to members and nonmembers, with members receiving a discounted price or attending free.
Coffee Connections is held at the chamber office on the second Thursday of each month; Out-to-Lunch has an educational speaker and networking luncheon on the third Wednesday of each month and an educational breakfast once each quarter; and we also have a business information gathering addressing reasons to join a chamber. These new connection opportunities for members are in addition to the regular chamber monthly mixers and committee meetings.
How did you personally become involved with the chamber?
As an in-demand sales manager with a stellar reputation in the media industry for meeting and exceeding revenue and expense budgets while building high-functioning sales teams, and with well over 10 years of experience as an independent consultant traveling nationwide while running my own company, I was interested in exploring new opportunities.
Joy Buckels, a three-plus-year member of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors with whom I had previously worked, reached out to me to say she’d been contacted and asked to inquire if I might be interested in the chamber’s open president/CEO position. The job description seemed to be a perfect match for my skill set. Ultimately I received a job offer, starting work with the chamber on July 21, 2014.
What duties does your position entail?
Since I walked in the door, the role has required an intense level of strategic planning and implementation. Initially, with just me and one other full-time staff member, the job was one of learning and manning nearly every aspect of operations. Due to office administration requirements, staffing limitations, and skill sets, meeting with visitors in the office, local VIPs, businesses, and government officials was more limited.
Having such a direct view of daily operation let me identify areas of need and create a plan to address highest priorities first. At the same time, I was researching programs, procedures, products, and platforms we needed to create, launch, or update. The chamber board of director’s chair and I spoke daily, and the executive board changed their monthly meeting to every other week in order to authorize needed approvals.
From July 2014 through April 2015, the chamber website was an outdated 2003 software program which was no longer supported with updates. By April 2015, I had designed and launched our new mobile-optimized website, just in time for Google’s new mobile optimization requirements. We’re now able to largely self-manage the website in the office. At the same time, the upgrade gave members direct access to the member’s only area and business profiles.
Our only active social media presence was on Facebook, so I began claiming and reclaiming our social media accounts. Some, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Foursquare, had been inactive since 2012. I also set up new accounts on Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube. Our Facebook page has more than doubled in follows from over 500 to over 1,200; Twitter and LinkedIn follows have also doubled. Changing the format for the chamber’s weekly e-Newsletter has been well received, with the subscriber list growing tenfold to over 4,000. The newsletter promotes new chamber programs, recognizes individual businesses, and announces events.
Day-to-day, I serve as webmaster and IT manager. In my off-time, I’ve taken a number of classes to permit me to manage those areas, as well as others in the digital realm in which I have long-term, high-level experience. During the past year, I have maintained overall responsibility for much of the above, as well as meeting more often with officials, businesses, and community members. I also oversee budgets; attend committee and board meetings; and directly participate in fundraising, event planning, management, promoting member retention, and arranging speakers for board development.
What are the most rewarding parts of your role?
- The chance each day to work with the professional, hardworking chamber team
- When anyone recognizes the vast amount of changes made and the work it has taken to get to this point
- The chance to share how much the chamber has changed and continues to grow
- The chance for self-directed opportunities to learn about and move into new areas
- The chance to continue to grow the organization while not overwhelming the structure with too much, too fast
- The opportunity to meet people of all types, from all walks of life, each of whom is different – unique, intelligent, funny, sincere, honest, genius, humble, helpful, and more
What are the chamber’s short-term and long-term goals?
- Running the organization with a business mindset
- Building membership
- Enhancing member benefits through non-dues options
- Improving existing events and creating possible new events
- Continuing to enhance, elevate and strive for cutting-edge digital solutions
- Ongoing training to upgrade the chamber team’s skill set
What have been some of the organization’s most memorable events over the years?
Historically the chamber has had a number of memorable events which have often been touted by long-time community residents and business members. These include a Chili Cook-off and a Renaissance Faire, both held in the early ‘90s.
More recently, the chamber’s Grand Spring Festival will celebrate its 25th year in 2017, and the Grand Fall Festival has a 20-plus year run. These events are the two most requested events in the past two years. The Grand Fall Festival was last held in 2013. Now, it’s back by popular demand on Sunday, Oct. 9 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Via Vera Cruz. See our website for more information!
Are there any other exciting new projects coming up soon?
Yes, the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce and the City of San Marcos are exploring the idea of co-hosting a business walk, where we would visit local businesses to gather information. The information would be used to formulate strategies for growth of both current and future business programs.
How would somebody go about joining the chamber? What is the criteria for membership?
To join the San Marcos Chamber, contact Director of Membership Joy Buckels at 760-744-1270 ext. 16 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also access the online application at
The criteria for membership is simple. One must simply be a legal business (this definition includes nonprofits, not-for-profits, and government entities), request a membership application, return that to the chamber, pay the appropriate membership fee, and be approved at the next board of directors meeting.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
If you haven’t checked out the chamber in two years or more, you really need to do so. We are making an impact with major changes. If you are a business and are interested in the viability of your local community, we need you to join the organization, add your voice to the community and help strengthen the voice of local business.
Office Manager Tiffany Guevara
Tiffany performs the majority of day-to-day office and financial functions. In addition to keeping the chamber office running smoothly and being the first friendly face and voice greeting callers and visitors to the chamber office, Tiffany coordinates and manages front and back-end database input for membership set-up and performs database accounting functions. She oversees or assists in all administration functions for events, oversees equipment maintenance, and performs cost comparisons for vendor services.
Director of Membership Joy Buckels
Joy contacts businesses, nonprofits and governmental agencies to share with them the many benefits of belonging to the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce. She is responsible for retention, building relationships with the members, and making sure they are taking full advantage of their benefits.
Director of Events Melanie Jamil
Melanie develops and oversees special event details including: event budgets, sponsorship packages, marketing promotion materials (such as flyers, banner ads, and social media profile headers), as well as preliminary, onsite, and post-production event management. Melanie is experienced in sales, marketing, operations, budget control, project management, and business development.
At-A-Glance | President/CEO
Name: Pam Rumer
Profession: Media Marketing, Advertising, Promotion – Print & Digital
Education: B.A. in Communications, Purdue University
Hobbies & Interests: All things digital and technological, SEO, social media, apps, technology, beta testing, e-marketing, PPC advertising, tech devices, analytics, cloud-based computing solutions, SaaS, mobile marketing, database management, digital security, data solutions, blogging, content management, big data, photography, video, passive income solutions, gaming
At-A-Glance | Chamber
Name of Organization: San Marcos Chamber of Commerce
Address: 904 W. San Marcos Blvd., Suite 10, San Marcos, CA 92078
By The Numbers:
Year Founded: 1967
Board Members: 11
Board of Directors
Lela Hankins, Board of Directors, 2016 Chair and 2015 Interim Chair
Matt Simmons, Board of Directors, 2017 Chair-Elect
Daniel (Dan) W. Reichel, Board of Directors, Treasurer
Pam Wells, Board of Directors, Secretary
Todd Karnig, Board of Directors, Member at-Large
Laura Gropen, Government Affairs Committee, Chair
Don Cole, Finance Committee, Member
Margie Fugate, Special Events Committee, Chair
Linda Bailey, Membership Committee, Member
Tess Radmill, City of San Marcos Government Liaison
James (Jim) A. Testa, Chamber Legal Counsel