There is no such thing as a typical day for Stephanie Christiansen, President and CEO of the Benicia Chamber of Commerce, and she loves it. In a day’s time she may work with home-based business owners or CEOs of large Benicia Business park manufacturers, and often their concerns are similar.
The Chamber’s mission is: “Promoting business for a better Benicia,” and Christiansen’s job is to carry out the policies and programs set forth by the 15 member Board of Directors. She and two other staff members support initiatives related to tourism, legislative affairs, fundraising, networking, business education and more.
“I try to remain flexible every day, and to be open to what unfolds,” she says.
“I love working with all the different personalities. There are so many people whose knowledge I can learn from, and I feel extremely grateful for that.”
Christiansen enjoys living and working in Benicia where she started at the Chamber in 1987 after responding to a classified ad in the Benicia Herald for an office assistant. Since then she’s done every job possible, including office cleaning and membership sales, which has helped her in her role as CEO since 1994.
When asked what advice she would give her younger self, she replied: “Step back and take a look at the big picture. Is the thing you’re worrying about going to matter tomorrow? Usually what we think is a major issue today, really isn’t.”
Her greatest role models are her parents, now retired. Together they ran a small Benjamin Moore paint store in Petaluma, where they commuted every day from Benicia. “My parents worked hard, and cared about people and customer service.”