The Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which serves businesses and promotes community development, has now been around for 100 years.
The office first met on Hollywood Boulevard on June 24, 1922, three years before Hollywood became an official city in 1925. Several businessmen joined, along with some of the first residents. of Hollywood, under the leadership of the former President of the Hollywood Chamber. Joseph Young. He was one of the founders of the city, an original developer and later its first mayor.
The celebration event was held at The Great Princess Cruise out of Hollywood for a fine dining cruise. The office uses the theme and design of the Great Gatsby and the flapper era, borrowing from the decade in which the office was founded.
Hundreds of members of the department and friends, decked out in flapper suits and tuxedos, participated in the grand banquet presided over by CEO and Executive Director Marie Suarez, along with Board President Natacha Yacinthe. The event was filled with historical memories, food and stories told. After dinner, the evening ended with a DJ and dancing on the ship’s deck.
Celebrating a century of the office was seen as the end of one era and the beginning of another by the company’s leaders.
Suarez has seen the club grow in the 23 years he has been at the club.
“I’m from Quebec City, Canada. I moved here in 1987 and joined the Hollywood Walk of Fame 12 years later,” he said.
Suarez said that although 100 years of the founding of the company is a wonderful and historic event, his main concern is to look beyond the new epidemic to see what kind of Hollywood will emerge for the future.
“In the past, the tourism industry was the main driver of our economy in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s,” he said. “Now the office is focusing on the development of the future economy, helping business partners and doing business between each other.”
Suarez said that when society and businesses come out of COVID, they are trying to figure out how to serve a new way of doing business.
“A lot of people have changed the way they work,” he said. “Since there are many hybrid methods going on, we are adjusting our plan. I am calling for 2022 and 2023 years of testing to see how we need to grow. It is also working we have a five-year strategic plan to plan a road map for where we are going, which we have never done before.
An annual program that has been working for many years to build the leaders of tomorrow is Leadership Hollywood, one of the oldest programs of its kind in the state. The office has supported 45 annual programs, where they take a group of about 30 to 40 people and engage them in personal leadership development and community leadership.
Suarez said he was concerned about the current state of development in Hollywood. And, he said, the future looks bright for business growth, given the city’s location, the nearby beach and new housing developments popping up all around.
“Hollywood is in a perfect location, between Miami and Fort Lauderdale,” he said. “I think we have the most beautiful beach in Florida with the Broadwalk. We have a real and vibrant downtown right now. There are a lot of things going on. For example, the new 1818 building is open and working they are doing well.
Another factor that Suarez said would help bring in more visitors and new residents is the installation of a train station in the city.
“We look forward to having the new Brightline train station in Hollywood. It’s great for people who want to go to Miami, Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach,” he said.
Suarez said that the spirit of the party for the 100th anniversary of the department is about people and members celebrating each other.
“The people who came were the people and businesses that could come together to think about the last century,” he said. “We really want to compare where we were in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s to where we are now. We want to celebrate the next 100 years.
Another fact of the moment that Suarez said he would like to celebrate is the difference in the office, compared to where he lived.
“In the mid-1990s, the office really began to change its leadership. At that time we elected our first American president. In 1997, the first woman became the head of the board of directors. Now we have Natacha Yacinthe, our first black woman as board president.”
“We’ve made progress throughout our history, but we want to continue doing it the right way,” he said.
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Yacinthe is not only the first black woman to hold the office of cabinet president, but she is also the first Haitian in the position. Yacinthe’s theme for the year is “Sailing Toward Possibilities.”
Yacinthe has a system that includes engineering, environmental urban systems and public administration. He has worked with Port Everglades for 15 years and is its executive planning director, handling capital projects. About eight years ago, he was chosen to represent the port at the board meetings of the Hollywood Chamber, where he participated with the group.
“For the past 2 1/2 years, I have served on the executive committee,” he said. “Then they asked me if I wanted to be president in 2022 and I said yes.”
For Yacinthe, the 100th anniversary shows how far the office has come. In 1922, the members were white men. Now, his stay in the position shows that many things have changed in the culture and the office.
Yacinthe said that he is proud of the fact that the office has dealt with the disease and that he is ready to help the community move into the future.
“A lot of people don’t know that there are many businesses in the country that have not survived COVID,” he said. “But we’re committed and we’re here. We’ve been very active in the community as an agency.”
Visit hollywoodfl.org/187/History-of-Hollywood and hollywoodchamber.org/.