Half Moon Bay Chamber’s CEO Charise McHugh’s Farewell Speech
She gave her farewell speech at The Annual Recognition Awards Dinner earlier this year. I circled back and had her podcast the speech, as it really is loving and inspirational. Kinda like a short and local version of the “How I Built This” podcast with Guy Raz.
Charise has been CEO of the Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau since 1996. She has been instrumental in increasing membership at the Chamber from 330 to 650 members and tripling its budget. The Half Moon Bay Coastside is now a destination resort and home to 26 lodging facilities and a Ritz Carlton.
In addition to her Chamber and Visitor Bureau duties and many committees:
- Charise founded a Hotel BID in 2004.
- She founded the only broad-based Ecotourism Program in the state of California and is spearheading state recognition of ecotourism as a tourism destination.
- Was instrumental in bringing bussing to the Coastside
- Currently she is heading up CEAP (Coastside Emergency Action Program) a Disaster Preparedness Plan for the San Mateo County Coast (the only recognized VOAD in the county)
- Created Rotary & Chamber @ the High School, teaching high school seniors real life skills that they didn’t learn in high school.
- Was instrumental in bringing STEM Robotics to all the schools.
- And, is responsible for the planting of the Highway 1 medians, enticing visitors to seek out the downtown.
- Her Chamber’s website won Honorable Mention at the 2005 W.A.C.E. Conference and won first place with their marketing brochure in 2010. Charise has earned two Accredited Chamber Executive (ACE) by the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.), and was the William E. Hammond Award Winner in 2008. She is also a graduate of WACE Academy. She serves on the Western Assn of Chamber Executives Board of Directors and their Foundation Board. She also serves on the Table of Plenty Board of Directors which serves the hungry every Thursday a hot meal with table linens and aproned servers.
- She has lived in Half Moon Bay for 35 years with her husband, Jack. She has 3 children and 6 grandchildren. She enjoys time in the mountains at both Yosemite and Tahoe.