The Coronado Chamber of Commerce has selected Coronado resident Rena Clancy as its next Executive Director. Clancy previously served as the Chamber’s Membership Coordinator and will follow in the footsteps of Sue Gillingham who announced her retirement last month.
“The Chamber Board is excited by the plans for the organization that Rena has developed. As a Coronado resident, she understands the importance to our residents of maintaining a vibrant downtown,” said Chamber Chairman Mike Woiwode
Rena, her husband Sean, and their son Adrian, moved from Philadelphia to Coronado in 2015. “We came for my husband’s work [Sean Clancy was the Managing Director at the Loews Coronado Bay], but we are here for good!” stated Rena. “We had moved eight times in seven years. We had lived in multiple places in Arizona, Florida, and Pennsylvania. When we drove across the bridge with our almost two year old son I said ‘This is it. We have arrived. No more moves.’ And luckily Sean agreed. This is our home and where our son will grow up.”
The family lives in the Cays and Adrian is now a third grader at Silver Strand Elementary School.
In 2020 Rena decided the timing was right for her to go back to work full-time. With a background in the hospitality industry she had options, but her love of Coronado led her straight to the Chamber of Commerce. “There is so much potential and so much greatness here,” she said.
Clancy was hired as the Chamber’s Membership Director in February 2020. “I have absolutely loved the work since my first day. The events, the business owners, the exciting and creative aspects of it,” she said, noting that she was on the job 22 days before Covid hit and the team transitioned to remote work.
She recognized an opportunity in the shutdown. “We were lucky enough to be able to transition into remote work. The job remotely gave me the opportunity to remove the daily distractions and events and focus on building relationships with our members.”
“I did a survey of Southern California Chambers to see what everyone was doing during the shutdown. They were losing members and many were closing altogether. We didn’t have to do that. Our city is so different. In fact we provided more services, and we actually increased our membership,” Clancy said of the creative efforts by the Chamber to support its 260 business members.
One of the ideas that Clancy came up with during the pandemic was the ‘Loyal to Local’ campaign. The initiative encouraged people to consider Coronado businesses first - even if they might not need to buy anything they could help by buying gift cards, leaving positive online reviews, ordering take-out, etc.
“The Loyal to Local campaign sparked something for me and I ended up developing the inCoronado app. It’s dynamic and Coronado centric and includes everything local; things to do, places to eat, weather, news, itineraries,” said Clancy.
The free inCoronado app for Apple and Android brings everything together in one place and has become very popular with both tourists and locals. “The four big hotels say they love to give it to their guests because it has everything,” she added.
Clancy plans to continue to bring innovative initiatives to the Chamber and says she is excited about leading a very talented team. “The transition feels organic. Sue [Gillingham] has been fantastic and really helped me understand the Chamber’s position in Coronado. I am looking forward to continuing the momentum. I want to bring new ideas while staying true to the core of what we do.”
Rena and her three siblings grew up with a single mom who was a small business owner, so she understands the challenges of running your own business. “We were my mom’s business partners in her coffee shop. I know the stress of it, and waking up at 3 a.m. every day. It’s a lot of work. I know what many of our members put into their businesses on a daily basis,” she said, adding that she was particularly grateful that she could be part of helping businesses during the shutdown.
“Rena understands our membership well. She is very familiar with the steps taken by the Chamber and the City in helping businesses survive the last 18 months, and has an aggressive vision for helping businesses recover from the pandemic,” added Woiwode.
For Rena the opportunity to lead the Chamber of Commerce in the city that she loves and calls home feels like coming full circle. One of the very first vacations the Clancy’s ever took was to the Hotel del Coronado. She snapped a photo on the beach and put it in a frame, dreaming that one day she might actually live there. Many years later she still has the picture as a reminder of that dream that came true.
When she’s not supporting the local business community Rena’s favorite thing to do is, and always has been, going to Cays park with Sean and Adrian. “Watching the sunset, playing, just being together in that awesome park.”