Emily Reneau is moving from one “bucket list” job to another on her list.
On Aug. 20, the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce announced that President and CEO Reneau would be stepping down and taking a new job with the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. Reneau, who was hired by the Chamber in April of 2019, did not serve as CEO for long but was forced into crisis mode earlier this year and helped local Atascadero businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic brought everyday life to a screeching halt.
“It has definitely been a challenge, and as you pointed out, it is not what anybody signed up for,” Reneau told The Atascadero News. “We truly were, I know it’s cliche, but we truly were all in it together, and I think we bonded really closely. All the Chamber execs in the area all kind of got close because we wanted to share ideas. What was most important to all of us was to get the information out there that the businesses needed to survive. There is always a little bit of a competitive nature with any industry, right. Still, the people who go into the Chamber, they really care about businesses and the competition goes away in times of crisis.”
Reneau worked with various Chamber CEOs from neighboring towns in the county to quickly and accurately get information out that could help local businesses while dealing with staffing cuts due to the pandemic’s financial issues.
“We had a very successful annual dinner this year right before COVID hit, and it was kind of a bummer because we saw things going in the right direction financially for us. Then COVID hit and took out all of our events, and then we had to streamline our staffing. We lost some staff and worked with pretty much a skeleton crew from March till now,” Reneau explained.
Over the years, Reneau has worked in different fields and held some pretty impressive jobs, such as working for the Walt Disney Company in community relations as well as serving as a business development director for the American Heart Association but considered Atascadero’s Chamber of Commerce one of her bucket list items.
“It was always a position that I wanted to have,” she explained. “It was, if you will, on my bucket list to do it particularly in this area in North County. I consider myself a North County person, although I grew up in the area. I have a love for Atascadero and Paso and Templeton, and when the opportunity came up, it was perfect timing.”
Reneau’s last official day working for the Chamber of Commerce will be on Sept. 11, when the board will appoint an interim CEO.
While the pandemic certainly made the job more difficult, Reneau says that is not why she is leaving. Much like the Atascadero Chamber opening was something she always wanted to do, she has landed another position on her bucket list with the Wine Alliance, who she worked with when they were still the Paso Robles Vintners and Growers Association.
“I don’t think the pandemic played into it, just the timing was good,” Reneau said. “This particular position came open about seven years ago, and I was interested in it then, so it is definitely a position I’ve had an interest in, and I love the wine industry.”
Check back with The Atascadero News on our website Atascaderonews.com for updates on the next Atascadero Chamber of Commerce CEO and President.