Charla and the Chamber

Talk of the Towne
Charla and the Chamber

Orange’s new Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Charla Lenarth (top, center) stops for a photo on the steps of the Chamber’s offices in the Royer Mansion. Also pictured are staff members Stephen Ponting - Office Manager (front); Etisyai Nettingham - Membership Concierge (top left) and Patricia Dickey - Marketing & Events (top right).

Talk to Orange’s new Chamber of Commerce President and CEO and it soon becomes apparent that Charla Lenarth believes in living a purposeful life. With a resume chock full of service, including six years as program director at Make-a-Wish Foundation, Lenarth believes in making every day count.

Lenarth moved into the Chamber’s Old Towne offices last August, coming from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, where she served for three years. While she enjoyed the position in Ontario, the opportunity to work for Orange was too tempting to pass up.

“Orange is one-of-a-kind,” says Lenarth. “It’s a big town with a small town feeling. Where else can you find three major hospitals, plenty of retail and industry, as well as a historic area where everyone waves to one another, and an incredible cultural hub like Chapman University?”

A California native, Lenarth was born in Pasadena, relocating to Lake Elsinore when she was nine. There she grew up on 10 acres, later building a house next door to her childhood home, where she lives today. Of the many valuable lessons Lenarth learned from her parents, being a good servant leader has proven a beneficial asset. “I was taught to serve others, and I can’t imagine living a different life,” says Lenarth. “My reward is seeing the end results of my work.”

Lenarth’s rewards in the various jobs she’s held have been many. At Make-a-Wish, in six years she oversaw the granting of 1,000 wishes. “Much work goes into making a child’s most heartfelt wish come true, and you only have one chance to do it right, but it’s an incredible privilege to watch a child forget about being sick and get to be a kid again.”

Lenarth also worked for the Department of Defense onboard base at Camp Pendleton, where she served marines and their families, including helping them prepare for deployment. From there she joined the Ontario Chamber, pulling the organization out of the red and into the black within 30 days of taking office.

While Lenarth has enjoyed all of her positions, she feels working as a Chamber of Commerce executive is her calling. She is so dedicated to being the best Chamber president and CEO possible that she joined the Cal Chamber and the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.) and recently made a three-year investment to earn the designation of becoming an Accredited Chamber Executive (A.C.E.).

“Belonging to such organizations gives me access to many likeminded chamber executives who all have the common goal of providing the best possible service to our respective businesses and communities,” she says.

That being said, Lenarth wants businesses in Orange to know she is ready and waiting to serve. “I like to say that I am the Chamber toolbox. Business owners just need to come and choose the tools that work best for them.”

Meet Lenarth and learn about Orange’s visions, goals and successes at this year’s annual State of the City luncheon on March 20th at 11:30 am at the Doubletree Hotel, 100 the City Drive, Orange. For information: .

Orange Chamber of Commerce
307 East Chapman Ave, Old Towne Orange, CA 92866 / 714-538-3581

Published in the Mar/Apr 2014 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review

Written by Julie Bawden-Davis, Photograph by Gary Campbell

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