Awards for Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year, Woman of Influence, and Community Organization of the Year were given out

ATASCADERO — Community members and Atascadero business owners gathered together on the evening of Saturday, May 21, for the 99th Annual Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala. The sold-out event was held at Springhill Suites by Marriott in Atascadero from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Awards were given out at the Gala to community members who were nominated by their peers.

“The evening was a very moving event with those we honored with Citizen of the Year, Women of Influence, Business of the Year, and the Non-Profit, which was The Printery. It really highlighted the heart of Atascadero and those who shape our community,” said Chamber Membership Director Julie Matthews. 

Karen McNamara, the president of the Atascadero Printery Foundation, accepted the award for Community Organization of the Year.


Eric and Anna Olson, owners of Central Coast Distillery, received the award for Business of the Year, thanking many community members in the room for getting them to this point.

Angela Cisneros was named as the evening’s first Woman of Influence. She is the owner of Angela Cisneros Jewelry Concierge.

Woman of Influence 2021 also went to the late Penni Monroe, former owner of Hush-Harbor Bakery. Her family was in attendance to receive her award. Penni’s daughter, Morgan Monroe, shared Penni’s life story with the crowd.  

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Chamber president and CEO Josh Cross hugs Morgan Monroe, who accepted the Woman of Influence award for her late mother, Penni Monroe. Photo by Josh Petray

And 805 Boardshop and ATown Park owner Kevin Campion was awarded with Citizen of the Year for his work helping the youths of Atascadero and giving them multiple safe spaces to be themselves.

The Atascadero Chamber also recognized outgoing chair Maria Kelly and welcomed incoming Chairman of the Board Phil Koziel.

“For the first in-person Gala Dinner event since January 2020 (2021 was virtual), it was an exceptional evening from the attendance to the event’s full program and auctions,” said Deputy City Manager Terrie Banish. “Everyone truly enjoyed themselves. Hats off to the Chamber and everyone involved for their hard work.” 

The master of ceremonies for the evening was KSBY-TV News Daybreak co-anchor and multi-media journalist Neil Hebert, while Doug Filiponni acted as auctioneer for the live auction later in the Gala. Chamber President and CEO Josh Cross and Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno also made multiple appearances on stage.

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Neil Hebert and Doug Filipponi conduct the live auction during the Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala. Photo by Josh Petray

“The beauty of this event, with the silent and the live [auctions], because we were instrumental in creating those packages, all I had to do was call or email, and they’d say yes. That’s the heart of our community,” added Matthews.

The live and silent auctions at the event raised money that far exceeded the amount raised at last year’s Gala, though final numbers have not been tallied. 

“All of those proceeds go back to the Chamber so that we can continue to support local businesses, give them strength, educate them, and bring business to Atascadero,” continued Matthews.

Gary Eberle and Eberle Winery provided wine, and Figueroa Mountain Brewing provided beer for guests. And the Gala was catered by Union and Vine’s Executive Chef Nathan Clap. The Gala also had over 200 donors backing it.

“We want to thank the donors. The event would not have been successful without their support,” Matthews said.

Next year, the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its 100th Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala.