A leader for the Seattle business community — and Capitol Hill — is ready to step aside.
The GSBA, the E Pine-headquartered LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce that manages the Capitol Hill Business Alliance advocacy group, said Friday that CEO and president Louise Chernin will step down after decades of work in the business community.
“A decision may be both right and difficult at the same time, which is true of my decision to retire as President & CEO of GSBA, a position I have held for nearly 19 years,” Chernin said in GSBA’s statement on the change. “It is not an overstatement to say that serving in a leadership role in GSBA has been one of the most impactful, fulfilling, and life-changing experiences of my life.”
The GSBA says it is launching “a national search to ensure an inclusive and successful recruiting process for the next President and CEO.”
GSBA deputy director Mark Rosén will step in as interim president and CEO, board chair Stephanie Dallas announced.
Under Chernin’s watch, the GSBA has grown into a statewide organization representing business communities across Washington. Last year, its formation of the Capitol Hill Business Alliance for advocacy and support of the neighborhood’s restaurants, shops, and nonprofits helped fill the void left with the financial implosion of Capitol Hill’s dedicated chamber of commerce.
Along the way, Chernin managed to stay balanced handling the tricky role of representing business interests while also trying to represent LGBTQ and Capitol HIll communities. In June, she stood with Mayor Jenny Durkan as the official announced the start of the city’s crackdown on the CHOP protest zone.
“The biggest concern for businesses is Capitol Hill visibility, retaining their identity,” Chernin told CHS last year. “And we are absolutely committed to that because Capitol Hill is so important to GSBA — not to mention it’s one of the most important business districts in the state of Washington.”
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Louise Chernin has been a great and innovative leader of one of the largest LGBTQ Business organizations in the country. Shepherding the group from its beginning and making it a force in Seattle and Washington state politics. From marriage equality to the rights of workers and the viability of small businesses and Non-Profits across the spectrum, benefitted from her leadership and support. Thank you, Louise!