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Chamber of Commerce President Resigns

Mark Persson, director of membership services, has replaced Rebekah Evans as the Malibu Chamber of Commerce's interim head.

After nearly six years at the helm, Rebekah Evans last week on Friday resigned as president/CEO of the . The chamber announced she had left in a press release (which is attached) that was issued this week. The release does not specify any details of how or why Evans left, but a source familiar with the situation told Malibu Patch she had resigned.

Evans could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mark Persson, director of membership services, has been named "interim chamber executive," according to the release.

Evans was hired to lead the chamber in June 2006 with the tile executive director. She had previously worked as the CEO/president of the . 

Kenny Wiess February 24, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I for one will miss Rebekah. She was the last holdout on the chamber board to help local business. I can't help but feel that the new chamber president Don Schmitz (i month in position) had something to do with this. As a representative for developers and an egomaniac it's interesting to note that not one word of the press release says thank you to Rebekah for her six years of service to the community. Six years of work and not a single Thank You! That shows how much class the current people in charge have. Thank you Rebekah! Those of us who own businesses in Malibu know what you have been dealing with and appreciate your service. I'll won't be renewing my chamber membership now that you are gone.
Susan Tellem February 24, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Kenny - you are so right. I have worked with Rebekah on a number of Chamber projects, and her heart was with all the small businesses in the Chamber. This city is small business, but the Chamber board is made up of developers and real estate people as well as Pepperdine and HRL execs - that's pathetic. I was asked by Rebekah to put in an application for the new board, which I did. Soon after, I was told to withdraw because I was too "outspoken." When I saw who got the three spots I was flabbergasted because of all the talk about catering to small business. Yes, they re locals but part of big chains not small businesses, the heart of Malibu. Rebekah took a beating at the local meeting we had about small businesses at City Hall but those people who were hard on her did not realize where her heart was. It was very devastating to Rebekah to be treated like that when she cares so much. Their anger should have been directed at Don Schmitz and Roger Gronwald who are the top people on the board and don't give a rat's ass about small business despite all their lip flapping. Rebekah, you will not be forgotten and thanks so much for all your hard work.
Jonathan Friedman February 24, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Just for clarification, so we're all using the correct terms, Don Schmitz is not the president of the chamber. He is the chairman of the chamber board.
Tami Semler February 24, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I believe Rebekah was forced into resigning, Malibu Patch should find out what really happened. I am a small business owner and did support the Malibu Chamber, I was a board member for five years and also on the executive board of the Malibu Chamber, but the direction the Chamber is heading I am not sure I will be able to support the Malibu Chamber anymore.
Beverly Taki February 24, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Malibu has lost a huge advocate for this town when they lost Rebekah. I have personally seen your professional style exemplified for the past six years. There always seemed to be peace and a cohesiveness with the Chamber leadership under her leadership. Rebekah, please know that I speak for myself and many others, when I say that you will be greatly missed.
Jane Bellomy February 24, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Leave it to those who know to tell it like it is!! What a loss this is for our Malibu...
Susan Tellem February 24, 2012 at 11:01 PM
BTW - despite what the story says, I am confident she was forced out. She would not resign.
Candace Brown February 25, 2012 at 01:17 AM
We will all miss Rebekah. Especially the "mom and pop's" around here. (What's left of them...)
Bob Perkins DDS February 25, 2012 at 04:07 AM
I'm bummed. I think Rebekah is a super (and talented) lady. She really has backed up small businesses and she has tried to weather the storms and the personal attacks. Malibu will miss her but someone else will benefit from her services. I wish her the best.
Leah Thomas February 25, 2012 at 05:25 AM
I am saddened by this news. Rebekah has been a staple in the community for many years. This whole thing sounds very fishy. To me, it looks like Don Schmitz is a horrible president for being on for a month? He should be ashamed, and the board who supports him. I agree with Kenny above that MANY thanks are due to Rebakah and her service. The chamber has lost my support. I will miss Rebekah and her family, as they were always supporting the chamber too.
Jay Reynolds February 25, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I've had the pleasure of working with Rebekah and the pain of dealing with the new Chairman Don Schmitz, whom I can only describe as self absorbed. If the chamber board believes letting Mrs. Evans go so they can promote an agenda of unlimited business growth is a good idea I can only say they are idiots. I went online to see who's behind the chamber board and I'm shocked that it's entirely developers, big business, real estate and Pepperdine. It's easy to see why they would force out a small business advocate like Mrs. Evans in order to have their way. Add to that the fact that they have selected one of the most untruthful developers reps in Malibu as their new Chairman and I think it's safe to say the Chamber of Commerce isn't truly representative of Malibu business. I also think their announcement of Mrs. Evans departure was tasteless. If someone gives you many years of service, the least you can do is say thank you, but then again we can all see that this chamber board lacks any form of class or style.
Jane Bellomy February 25, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Wow! Sounds like a lot of housecleaning needs to be done in this city, and a class in etiquette wouldn't hurt either!!!
Mark Laubacker February 27, 2012 at 09:25 PM
I was truly looking forward to joining the Malibu Chamber, Rebekah impressed me with her enthusiasm and dedication to helping small businesses and nonprofits. The Malibu Chamber lost a great talent, shame on the Board for this.
Sarah Fuller February 28, 2012 at 12:15 AM
This is horrible... I made some calls and found out that the Executive Board (on their web page as Don Schmitz, Rodger Gronwald, Christine Hamerline, Rhiannon Ballard, Sam Sahrai and Stu McNelis) did this without even telling the other board members. Rodger Gronwald and Heidi Bernard were very happy to drop the hatchet. It seems Rebekah had complained about being disrespected and yelled at by Don Schmitz during his first five weeks he was Chairman of the Board. She wasn't happy with the radical direction Don was pushing the chamber to take. It seems he has some delusions of grandeur and doesn't like women questioning him. The combination of all the big businesses on the Executive Board (Developer, HRL, Koss Financial, GNI Management, Pepperdine) decided they wanted a more political agenda so they can become some type of power brokers in Malibu. Don was pissed because he wasn't comentator at the recent debate. Something Rebekah Evans opposed doing. Out she went without a word to the general board. One board member called Don and asked why she had not been consulted. Acording to the board member Don told her it was none of her business, the executive board had spoken. Can you say egomaniac? And what's up with Pepperdine? Two people involved and they throw out a beloved employee. Great christian school example. Locals, it's time to dump the Malibu Chamber. It's just a bunch of big guys who all want to get their way. I'm afraid the old Malibu we use to have is slipping away.
Susan Tellem February 28, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Sarah - that's pretty much the story I heard. Can you shoot me an email? I have an idea to discuss with you. susan@tellemgrodypr.com
Ryan James February 29, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Seems strange that whomever is in charge would not say thank you. I guess it shows the level of professionalism of the new Chairman of the Board, if he can't even say thank you, no matter how the split happened. Sounds to me like the Malibu Chamber needs an injection of real local business leaders. I've seen Rebekah Evans at many local events and I think they have made a big mistake. I'm sure both the chamber and Mrs. Evans will survive, but Malibu may be the big loser. Does anyone know how to contact her?
Susan Tellem February 29, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Ryan - I know how we can reach Rebekah. I think we as small businesses should have a plan to take back the chamber.

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