Emily Reneau, a 23-year resident of North San Luis Obispo County, began her tenure as Atascadero Chamber of Commerce’s CEO and President on April 23.
“I am thrilled to work with people who care about the community and enhance the fabulous work that is already in place,” Reneau said. “Atascadero has so much to offer and I look forward to empowering our business community.”
Reneau, along with her husband, Scott, and then 18-month-old daughter, Shelby, moved to Paso Robles in 1996 from Southern California. She said they made the choice to move out of the city because they were spending so much time in the car and not much time together. And Reneau wanted to spend more time with her daughter and not in a car.
Because Scott’s family owned a car dealership in Paso Robles, they decided to move to Paso Robles and Scott joined the family business— Jerry Reneau Chrystal Dodge. The dealership closed in 2010.
Emily and Scott met when they were students at Fresno State. After they graduated—Emily with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech communications—they married and moved to SLO County for Scott to get a Masters in Business Administration from Cal Poly.
“It was hard to find a job that was high-paying enough [to live on the Central Coast],” Emily said, adding that was the reason they sought employment in Southern California.
When they decided to move to SLO County, Emily was working for the Walt Disney Company in community relations.
“It was there that I fell in love with working for a community and local businesses, as I worked closely with the city and the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce,” Reneau said. “My job was to make the community like us because we were expanding the park.”
After moving to the North County, she started working for the SLO Performing Arts Center and then the Vintners and Growers Association in marketing and events. She took a break from working when her second child, Sloane, was a year old.
“After he was a year old, I decided I wanted to be a ‘stay at home mom,’” Emily said. “That lasted six months.”
She returned to working life as a consultant and then she was the founding president of the Paso Robles Children’s Museum.
“I led the efforts to raise $1.5 million,” Emily said.
While working at the children’s museum, her third child, Carson, was born. She went on to work for Cal Poly in the horticulture/agriculture department.
“I advised the students in how to put on a wine festival,” Emily said.
Keeping in trend with working in roles that would later directly relate to her current employment, she went to work for the American Heart Association as business development director. Because the main office is in Santa Barbara, she found herself working solo in Paso Robles.
Her final job before joining the Chamber staff was for HM Holloway, an agriculture services company. She was a business development associated and opened the company’s Paso Robles office and coordinated the outreach and marketing efforts for the company’s three regional offices in the area.
“This is the type of job I always wanted,” Emily said about working for the Atascadero Chamber.
Emily can be found at the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce office at 6907 El Camino Real or at any of the Chamber events.
“We are excited to have Emily Reneau as our incoming CEO,” 2019 Atascadero Chamber Board Chair Angela Cisneros said. “She brings with her great experience in leading a nonprofit paired with a drive to see our Chamber be the best it can be.”
As the new CEO and president of the Chamber, Emily has taken the wheel of an organization that has had a lot of changes in the last year under its previous leader, Derek Kirk.
“Before I start talking about goals, I want to get my feet wet and keep the ball rolling,” Emily said, adding that the former CEO was there at the right time to make the changes needed, including moving the Chamber’s office to where it is today.
Each month the Chamber has after-hours mixers, Leaders Lunches, Good Morning Atascadero and other business-related workshops. Throughout the year, it puts on the Atascadero Art, Wine and Brew tours quarterly, Tuesdays in the Park barbecues in the summer, the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival in June, the Marketplace—formerly called the Business Expo—in June and other special events for the community and business development.
For more information about what’s happening at the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce, go to AtascaderoChamber.org.
• Tuesdays in the Park barbecues from July 11 through Aug. 6 — with the exception of July 23 — from 5 to 7 p.m. at Atascadero Lake Parks. Proceeds benefit local nonprofits.
• After-hours mixer at Portola Inn, 6650 Portola Road, Atascadero on Thursday, June 20 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
• Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival presents Central Coast Reserve on Saturday, June 22 from 4 to 8 p.m. with various related events Friday through Sunday.
• Atascadero Art, Wine & Brew Tour will take place on Friday, Aug. 9 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. around downtown Atascadero.
Heather Young is a freelance writer specializing in travel, wine, food and feel-good stories about people doing good in their communities and world. Find her on Instagram @travelswithheatheryoung