Danville Express

Newsfront - February 9, 2007

Diane Slater heading Chamber

Plans include working on public events

by Jordan M. Doronila

Diane Slater was sworn in as the new board president of the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce last week at the annual Installation Dinner at Blackhawk Country Club.

Slater, 60, has been involved with the Chamber for more than 26 years. She is a Danville resident and manager of the First Republic Bank on Hartz Avenue.

She said she plans to work this year with the theme of "Proud of the Past and Poised for the Future."

Moreover, she plans to update the Chamber's Web site, work on marketing materials and public events, and continue to reach out to the Danville business community.

"She is high-integrity, hardworking, extremely kind, generous and very professional," said Melony Newman, Chamber president. "She is someone I truly respect, and I think she is the epitome of a wonderful business leader in this community. She does business locally with customers. She is giving."

Slater was born in Coalinga in the Central Valley.

"It was very hot," she said.

When she was 6, her family moved to Hayward. She studied at Chabot College but received job opportunities in banking while she attended school. She worked part time as a teller, and she was offered a supervisor position at a bank in Pleasant Hill in 1976.

That same year, she moved to Danville with her family, and she joined the Chamber in 1980.

Slater has worked for several banks in the Danville vicinity. Also, she has worked in several functions for the Chamber, including as an ambassador.

Currently, she is a bank manager for the First Republic Bank, which has shifted ownership several times and is now owned by Merrill Lynch. Slater noted that a large corporation owning her bank broadens its scope of products for customers.

As a manager, Slater's personal connection with clients is one of her major assets, Slater said. She has picked up clients from their homes and dropped them off at the office for business transactions. She has become friends with some of them, she said.

Approximately 200 people from the business community attended the Installation Dinner. Also Danville entrepreneurs were given 2006 Chamber awards at the event.

Paul Byer of First Choice Abbey Carpet was named Business Person of the Year; Chris and James Edlund of Christe James Fine Jewelry were honored as Citizens of the Year. Additionally, Len Heid of Kids Country was named Educator of the Year. And longtime Chamber ambassadors were honored for their services, said Newman.

Chamber Installation chairwoman Gabrielle Comfolpey organized the event.

"It takes a lot of hard work from staff and our Chamber members and the community to bring this together," Newman said. "It was a very successful event."

"It was one of the best attended ever," she added.

Slater is settling into her new position as Chamber board president. She said she is not afraid of change but has no plans to retire yet.

However, her primary focus is on being close to her two adult children and her grandchildren. She said she took her family on a trip to Disneyland.

"I'm a proud grandparent on the sidelines," she said. "You can splurge as a grandparent."

Contact Jordan M. Doronila at jdoronila@DanvilleWeekly.com


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