President & CEO
Jerry Sanders began his lifelong career in public service when he joined the San Diego Police Department at the age of 22, fulfilling his dream of becoming a police officer. He ascended the police department ranks and became one of the youngest police chiefs in the city’s history. As Chief, Jerry instituted a department-wide community policing model that earned nationwide recognition, spurring visits by chiefs from across the nation, as well as by the President of the United States. During his term as Chief, crime fell to record lows even as staffing remained low.
In 1999, Jerry retired as Chief of Police and became CEO of the United Way of San Diego County, where he reduced the organization’s costs and increased fundraising by 20 percent. Three years later, he chaired the board of the local chapter of the American Red Cross. He increased financial transparency at the chapter and helped restore the nonprofit’s credibility.
Jerry had established a successful track record as a turnaround executive and in 2005, San Diegans elected him Mayor with the goal of steering the city out of financial crisis. Throughout his two mayoral terms, Sanders led the city through a rebuilding and financial recovery, streamlining operations and repairing of long-neglected infrastructure projects.
In addition to his broad reform agenda, Jerry placed a high priority on economic growth and job creation during his time in office. He has carried this into his current position as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Through a focus on public policy and advocacy that supports business, Jerry has revitalized the Chamber establishing it as the region’s leading, most active business advocacy organization and the largest local chamber on the West Coast. Now in his ninth year leading the Chamber, Jerry guides the organization toward achieving its mission of making the San Diego region the best place to live and work by creating an environment where business can succeed and grow while creating jobs, empowering leaders, and enriching neighborhoods.