After a nationwide search, the Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce (SVCCC) has hired Christian D. Malesic as its new President and CEO. Malesic takes over for board member Christian Pellecchia, who was overseeing daily operations until the position was filled.
Malesic says he knows it’s a difficult time to take over, but he’s ready for the challenge.
“As you know, we’re dealing with this pandemic…So, I think the magic word really is recovery,” said Malesic. “Business is hurting for the most part…Some of our larger businesses in the area are doing really well in this time, but for the most part, the rank and file across the board, whether we’re talking the restaurant, or the dry cleaner, or the newspaper or the public relations firm, they’re having a tough time through this pandemic. So, the first thing we need to do is recover.”
Recovery includes educating chamber members on the post-pandemic business world.
“There’s still a lot of learning to do, because what is the new normal?” said Malesic. “We kind of think we know what the new normal will be. We’re talking now the new normal post-pandemic, which is not to be confused with the new normal during the pandemic, which is not to be confused with the old normal pre-pandemic. So, obviously, there’s a lot of training and education to do that.”
Malesic knows the Chamber of Commerce has had a controversial past with the City of Santa Clara, but he’s hoping to turn the corner and start anew.
“There are some historical things in the fairly recent history, in the last couple of years here, that have some lingering tentacles that have to be dealt with,” said Malesic. “So, to kind of clean up that mess and to deal with those people and personalities. Some of them are bodies (government bodies) and other entities. [We need to] work all of those details out and truly get the past behind us so that we can all be done with it and move on.”
Once that’s done, Malesic wants to focus on making SVCCC a truly regional Chamber of Commerce.
“Santa Clara is our base, but Silicon Valley is truly a region,” said Malesic. “It doesn’t matter what kind of service, sales, goods type of industry…you’re servicing the region. That is something that has been sorely missed in our past in Silicon Valley and I don’t know that we’ve ever really had that. Now that the Silicon Valley Central Chamber’s here, we’re really thinking regionally, and we have big things to come on that front.”
Malesic is a former member of the U.S. Air Force. He served as the chief executive for the Pennsylvania Society of Association Executives and the Melbourne Regional Chamber in East Central Florida. While he’s not from the Bay Area, he thinks his experience and his fresh eyes will make a difference.
“[I’m] coming [in] with fresh eyes and different eyes,” said Malesic. “We have an incredibly strong board with incredibly strong leadership. I’m the only outsider. So, now they have the benefit of fresh eyes and fresh thinking. But I have all of their inside knowledge, who are some of the most connected board members and business owners in the area.”