Ah, Rome, the Eternal City. If it weren't for the pesky little fact that more than 6,350 miles separate the capital of Italy from Burbank, it would be the perfect destination to spend a warm spring evening.
This past week, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce erased that hefty mileage trek and gave its members and supporters the opportunity to indulge in a night of Roman splendor by traveling just one block over the Burbank border to the Calamigos Equestrian Center for its 2017 annual gala.
Staged annually as the organization's premier fundraiser, this year's event, presented under the theme "When in Rome," was made possible by chairwoman Karen Volpei-Gussow, chamber chief executive Tom Flavin, managing director Chris Hunter, chairman of the board Lee Wochner, and chamber ambassadors Nari Abramyan, Don Baldaseroni, Harvey Branman, Cheryl Fox, Simon Lutterbie, Ramona Raymer, Nancy Serpa, Mike Thomas and Jeanne Vlazny.
This year's Roman-themed event saw the chamber name Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, represented by Kerry Carmody, who serves as the medical center's interim chief executive, as the Community Partner of the Year.
Angel City Data, represented by the company's founder and president David Knight, was lauded as the chamber's 2017 Small Business of the Year, with Business of the Year honors presented to Premier America Credit Union, represented by the company's community branch manager, Vickie Beckett, and her staff — Armine Patatanyan, Donna McNeely, Christina Madaras, Cathy Quezada and Courtney Garfield.
Among the dignitaries and notables in attendance were state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, Vice Mayor Will Rogers, Council members Emily Gabel-Luddy and Bob Frutos, City Clerk Zizette Mullins, City Treasurer Debbie Kukta, City Manager Ron Davis and former mayors Michael Hastings and Anja Reinke.
Established in 1921, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, which represents nearly 1,000 member businesses with more than 33,000 employees, is the leading public-policy advocate for local businesses, assisting them in promoting economic growth by working as a strategic partner on initiatives that enhance and preserve the quality of life in Burbank.