News & Updates

Member Spotlight: BOFI Federal Bank

BOFIBofI Federal Bank is a leading financial service provider that offers innovative banking and lending products to personal and business banking customers throughout the United States. For more than 15 years, BofI Federal Bank has been providing some of the most forward-thinking yet affordable financial products and services in the nation.

Headquartered in La Jolla, BofI Federal is a leader in online banking and offers their customers the convenience of securely accessing their accounts on their own schedules. The branchless banking model enables the bank to offer high interest rates on deposit products, as well as low loan rates with minimal fees. One of the fastest growing banks in the nation, BofI Federal Bank is the parent company to eight specialized financial institutions.

Aaron Trilling and David Ovadia, Business Development Managers at BOFI Federal Bank

Aaron Trilling and David Ovadia, Business Development Managers at BOFI Federal Bank

BofI Federal Bank features business banking solutions including business checking accounts, business certificates of deposit, commercial property loans, merchant services, and equipment financing. In 2016, BofI Federal Bank was named Best of the Biggest Public Thrifts by SNL Financial for the fourth year in a row.

Their flagship consumer brand, Bank of Internet USA, offers a comprehensive suite of convenient banking products. Since its inception, Bank of Internet USA has been dedicated to offering industry-leading rates on a variety of checking and savings accounts and home loans, including both conforming and non-conforming mortgages.

Bank of Internet USA products and services have been recognized by WalletHub, GOBankingRates, NerdWallet, and Advisory HQ. This year Nerdwallet, a financial education resource, honored Bank of Internet USA with multiple awards, including one of the Best Rewards Checking Accounts, Best Online Money Market Accounts, and Best Checking Accounts.

BofI Federal Bank is proud to be a member of the San Diego community. BofI Federal Bank believes strongly in developing relations with organizations within our community. The bank has provided support for local nonprofit groups including San Diego Habitat for Humanity, Meals-on-Wheels, Rady Children’s Hospital, and the Wounded Warrior Project. BofI Federal Bank looks forward to continuing to support local efforts through financial education, creating affordable and sustainable housing, and other initiatives that help build stronger communities.

President’s Update: Celebrating Small Businesses

The following content is from the August edition of the Out and About newsletter. To get Jerry’s updates directly to your inbox, sign up here.

Jerry Sanders, Chamber President & CEO

Jerry Sanders, Chamber President & CEO

Dear Chamber members,

August was a great month for celebrating the Chamber’s small business members and the significant impact they have in driving our region’s economy. This week, we honored five member businesses and one nonprofit at our Small Business Awards Mixer. Although the winners have small teams – most with under 30 employees – each award winner has made a major impact in both their own industries and San Diego’s business community at large.

I’m incredibly proud to give congratulations again to:

.Please take a moment to learn more about these member businesses and reach out to them at the next Chamber event.


Small Business Awards Winners

If you’re also a small business owner or an industry expert in your field, you may be pleased to learn that the Chamber has partnered with Wells Fargo to launch the Small Business Resource Center on the Chamber website. Whether you need help with financial management or are an expert in social media marketing, the Resource Center is a hub for gaining skills and sharing expertise in all aspects of small business management.

If you haven’t already, take a moment to visit the new Resource Center now or get in contact with your Member Relations Manager to add your own content.

Coming up, the hotel block for the Chamber Mission to Washington, D.C. closes Tuesday, August 30. This delegation trip will be an incredible opportunity to voice your policy concerns while forming meaningful relationships with many of San Diego’s key business leaders. If you’re still deciding whether or not you should go, take a moment to read a few reviews from past delegation members.

2015 Washington, D.C. Delegation

2015 Washington, D.C. Delegation – Click for Larger Image

Next, Dr. Maureen Orey – our professional development expert and President of the Workplace Learning and Performance Group will lead a workshop on Social Business: Getting Work Done in the 21st Century. Chamber workshops are a great opportunity to meet other members in a smaller and more intimate setting while gaining new business skills. If you haven’t already, I definitely encourage you to sign up today.

Until next time, enjoy your weekend and I look forward to connecting with you at a Chamber event soon.


Jerry Sanders
President & CEO
San Diego Regional
Chamber of Commerce

2016 Small Business Awards Winners


Six San Diego businesses received top honors at the Chamber’s 2016 Small Business Awards reception on August 23. Presented annually, the awards honor local small businesses with fewer than 50 employees for their significant contributions as drivers of economic growth throughout the region.

The winners are:

Outstanding Nonprofit: Reality Changers for their incredible success in helping low-income students – many of whom joined the program with less than a 2.0 high school GPA – graduate college at an 86 percent success rate. Since its founding, Reality Changers has recorded a total of over $100M in earned scholarships.

Tech Savvy: GroundMetrics, Inc. because their proprietary electromagnetic sensor has become world leader in the oil & gas technology market, helping its customers to use less fracking and drill fewer bad wells.

Only in San Diego: Moniker Group for the owner’s ability to think beyond the “beaches and sunshine” and harness San Diego’s cooperative entrepreneurial spirit to provide a community where designers, makers, artists and tech professionals can thrive.

Cinderella Story: The San Diego Sports Entertainment Center for the owner’s ability to revitalize the business into a thriving company – with plans to expand nationwide – after losing everything during the 2008 financial crisis.

Customer Service Star: Innovative Employee Solutions for delivering on their motto that “excellent service isn’t something you should do, but something you want to do.”

Best For Vets: Miramar Federal Credit Union because their team has demonstrated that – to best serve the military community and fulfill their motto, “Where Military Matters!” – they need veterans on staff who will connect with their customers on a level most civilians cannot.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination – all of San Diego is lucky to have such a robust small business community!

For more on this event read our press release »



Jerry with Small Business Awards winners




Women in the Workforce Are a Vital Resource

Jerry Sanders, Chamber President & CEO

Jerry Sanders, Chamber President & CEO

More than anything, promoting commerce is about leveraging our most valuable assets: people. So I was concerned when our recent Business and Tax Climate Dashboard revealed that, at 44.6 percent, women make up less of San Diego County’s workforce than any of our competitor metropolitan areas across the nation. Women in San Diego County do not benefit from the same professional opportunities.

veterans and women

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As a husband, a father of two daughters, a grandfather to a young girl and a San Diegan who has hired many people for jobs with great impact, this fact is troubling.

It may be our connection with the military driving this disparity. We have the highest percentage of veterans in the workforce compared with the same metros, and women account for only 15 percent of active-duty personnel in the U.S. military, according to Time Labs. But there is little value in trying to explain away the statistic.

Making Economy Stronger

As the president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, whose job it is to increase commerce in the San Diego region, I see this as a great opportunity to make our economy stronger.

An underrepresentation of women in our workforce means that we are essentially turning away talent. By allowing historical barriers to persist, we are ceding a competitive advantage to other metros. We should be very deliberate in identifying an increase in the numbers of women in the workforce as a goal of the business community. The economic success of our region is the sum of the economic success of our workforce. For San Diego to succeed, San Diego needs women to succeed.

Difficult Path

Of course, the definition of success is also personal. Today, that definition is becoming one with more emphasis on choice. Regardless of your definition, it is undeniable that women face a more difficult path to success in business.

Women are even more underrepresented in leadership roles. Last year, the Chamber surveyed businesses in San Diego County and found an estimated 37 percent of executives are women. The conversations happening in boardrooms across our region are not being informed with the diversity of perspective available in our population.

On the national scale, the extent of this is unmistakable. According to the Pew Research Center, women make up only 17 percent of the corporate board members and 5 percent of CEOs at the nation’s Fortune 500 companies. A study by the Women’s College at the University of Denver in conjunction with the White House Project forecasted that, at today’s pace, it will take seven decades for there to be equal representation of women in leadership roles.

Getting Their Perspective

Again, we can explain away the issue by arguing that women are more likely to take time off to care for a child. Or we can cite an increased likelihood of women to choose positions that offer less advancement opportunity, but greater flexibility in their schedule. The explanations however, only underscore the very reason we need more women in our workforce — their perspective is the product of a different experience.

The most important thing we can do is make a deliberate effort to design HR systems to create the strongest teams. That means identifying potential women leaders and making sure there are equal opportunities for success. Any given team may benefit substantially more from bringing in a different perspective. I don’t need a lawyer to tell me it is OK to consider the perspective an applicant brings before hiring or promoting the best person for my organization.

You should feel confident that this approach is in the best interest of your business and our entire economy.

Young Leaders Program

The Chamber is approaching the second year of our San Diego Young Leaders program. Women are well represented in this group of professionals that are 40 years old and younger, making up 50 percent of the 52-member board. Each year, it is important to the success of this program that we keep it that way. We are hoping that this approach creates further opportunity for the young female participants — all of whom have already demonstrated the capacity for leadership.

Next year, the Chamber will offer a leadership program exclusively for emerging women leaders. I’m asking you to look for and cultivate those rising leaders, and encourage them to apply to a Chamber leadership program.


Reprinted with permission. This article originally appeared in the August 22, 2016 issue of the San Diego Business Journal.

County Businesses Agree: Housing is Expensive and More Needs to be Built

The following content is from the August edition of the Business Forecast newsletter, sponsored by Silvergate Bank. To get these updates directly to your inbox, sign up here.


County’s business outlook continues to fluctuate, Index up five points this month

The region’s housing shortage continues to be a topic of much discussion and this month the Silvergate Bank-sponsored Business Forecast looks at what county businesses think of the issue. The findings reveal that nearly every businessperson (93 percent) in San Diego County believes housing in the area is expensive, and 44 percent say it’s much too pricey.

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When asked about the importance of building more housing related to recruitment or employee retention, nearly two thirds (63 percent) of businesses see building additional housing in their community as at least a somewhat important thing to do. Where we find a difference on how important it is to build is between the smallest and the largest firms. Among micro firms with less than two employees, 58 percent believe building housing is unimportant. These firms are presumably less concerned with employee attraction and retention as owners run their operations. Larger companies see housing as more important than micro firms do.

Importance of Housing

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Geography within the county also plays a role in housing costs. While no region of the county is immune to high housing prices, businesses in the north inland portion see the problem as less extreme. Only 28 percent of firms there say housing is much too expensive in that area, and 14 percent even believe it’s affordable. In contrast, 55 percent on the opposite side of the county, the south suburbs, believe prices are much too high.

During the past six months, confidence among San Diego County businesses has been continually up-and-down. Those fluctuations in confidence continue this month as the Business Outlook Index (BOI) moved up about five points to 20.9. While this is a slight improvement over last month’s 15.7, the lowest point since the survey began in August 2013, it is still below the historical average of 25 and the 52-week trend has been downward. The BOI ranges from -100 to +100, with zero being neutral, so the overall outlook remains somewhat positive.

BOI Index

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The year-long decline has mainly been due to businesses located outside the city of San Diego. Companies there are consistently less optimistic while those in the city have remained fairly stable in their outlook. One possible reason for this is that more growth-oriented companies are located in the city.

Two industries helping to keep the local economy on the brighter side are cyber-related firms and those in the development and construction sector. The IT, software, and on-line security professionals who make up the cyber sector have long been immune to pessimism, and lead the way with a strong BOI of 45. The development and construction industry is not far behind at 37 and see better conditions in their industry through the summer. These businesses are also more bullish about hiring with more than half saying they will add employees. Unlike cyber businesses, construction has been a roller-coaster since the Forecast began, but now the industry is settling into a more stable optimistic outlook.

Minimum Wage KK

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This positivity is necessary for the county to maintain a moderately positive outlook. That’s because the city’s minimum wage increase and the state’s impending increase continue to weigh heavily on optimism. Firms seeing the mandated increases as a new challenge report a meager BOI of only 5. This is one more in a series of findings which show increasing the minimum wage saps the confidence of companies that are forced to deal with it. Currently 9 percent say it is the new challenge they deal with. Based on the trends of the previous months, it is likely that until those businesses absorb the increase, close, or leave the county, the overall outlook will suffer.

The effects that minimum wage increases have on business confidence can be seen in the hours companies are able to offer their employees. Among firms that see minimum wage as a problem, 29 percent will cut hours in the coming months and only 18 percent believe they will be adding hours for their workers. That’s nearly the reverse of what companies not affected by the wage increases tell us.

Introducing the Small Business Resource Center

The Chamber team is excited to announce the opening of its new, online Small Business Resource Center! The center – which is made possible through the Wells Fargo Works for Small BusinessSM program – contains articles, webinars, and videos to assist business owners at each step of the business management process, including for emerging entrepreneurs who wish to start a new venture.

Through the new Resource Center, Chamber members can:

  • Read articles covering all aspects of small business management, including: financing, marketing, talent acquisition and more
  • Watch webinars from industry experts on small business management skills
  • Share industry expertise with the Chamber business community by submitting online content
  • Register for upcoming small business workshops

How to Get Started

Visit the Small Business Resource Center at to learn vital information on how to effectively drive business growth. To submit content, members are encouraged to submit a final draft of their content to their Member Relations Managers using the form located on the Small Business Resource website.

#OneBorder Featured at U.S.-Mexico Border Summit

BorderThe Chamber led two panel discussions at the 2016 U.S.-Mexico Border Summit held in El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juarez, MX. The first panel focused on #OneBorder – a unified coalition of border stakeholders that have united with the purpose of promoting the U.S.-Mexico economic and political relationship as one singular force. The coalition has met twice this year and is growing in both size and momentum. The panel featured border economy experts:

If there was ever a time for increased collaboration among the communities who know the border best, it is now, as we see the perception-versus-reality gap has widened due to a misinformed national conversation. The #OneBorder coalition is providing the platform for a border-wide binational collaboration that will create a strong, unified message and support for one another. When our border is united, effective advocacy with political leaders in both countries will follow.

The summit highlighted a frank conversation between U.S. Ambassador Roberta Jacobson and Mexican Ambassador Carlos Sada about the border’s critical role in the dynamic relationship between both nations. Additional topics discussed at the summit were: regional planning, balancing trade and security, innovation and entrepreneurship, manufacturing, quality of life, and creating a competitive workforce along the border.

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Visits San Diego

pritzkerThe World Trade Center San Diego and Qualcomm invited the San Diego Chamber to attend a special event in order to learn how the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will impact the San Diego economy.

The TPP is an international trade deal negotiated by the Obama Administration and 11 other countries on the Pacific Rim and represents an ambitious agreement designed to lower barriers for U.S. exporters of goods and services by substantially cutting tariffs and implementing limits on non-tariff trade impediments.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf and UC San Diego’s Dean of the School of Global Policy & Strategy Peter Cowhey were joined by a panel of local business leaders to discuss the importance of the TPP for the nation and San Diego.

Member Spotlight: Fogo de Chao

fogo3In the hills of Rio Grande do Sul, herds of cattle graze the state’s vast pastures, providing Brazil with meats for the famous “churrasco” barbecues – a centuries old “gaucho” (Southern Cowboy) tradition. In the olden days, gauchos slowly grilled meats over open flamed pits and carved each meat to their family members.

At Fogo de Chao we have kept the tradition alive, featuring continuous tableside service of 16 different delectable cuts of beef, pork, chicken and lamb. Our family-friendly concept also offers a sumptuous gourmet market table with fresh cut vegetables and a variety of traditional side dishes to compliment the meats.

fogo2Our beautiful San Diego location resides in the well-known Borders bookstore building, on the corner of 6th Avenue and G Street, within the bustling Gaslamp Quarter. Open for both lunch and dinner, Fogo is the perfect setting for an intimate dinner for two in our main dining room, or corporate event in one of our five private dining rooms. Options for vegetarians, vegan and fish will satisfy all diners in your party.

Whether you are planning a lunch & learn, holiday party or social celebration, Fogo offers private space with AV for groups of over 100 guests, and flexible semi-private areas. Group package options ensure each guest in your party receives the ultimate, unlimited tasting menu while still keeping you within budget.

fogo1Featuring a full selection of cocktails, 100+ label award-winning wine list and local craft beers, BAR FOGO is perfect for an after-work gathering of co-workers. Enjoy our happy hour specials Monday-Friday (4:30-6:30pm), or stop by for a pre-Padres game small plate any day of the week. Our newly expanded Sunday brunch features unique Brazilian specialties including our famous pao de queso egg bake and a carving station.

For reservations, event inquiries or questions, please call us at 619-338-0500. We look forward to seeing you soon!


Kristen Kuznicki
Sales Manager
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
668 6th Avenue, San Diego 92101
Phone: 619-338-0500