Sherry Menor-McNamara was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii on September 1, 2013. She is the youngest and first female President and CEO in the Chamber’s 171–year history, as well as the first Asian to serve as the leader of a State Chamber in the nation.
Chamber of Commerce Hawaii is one of the oldest business organizations in the state and the second oldest Chamber west of the Rockies. In 1850, ten of the city’s leading businessmen signed the constitution of a chamber of commerce. As it evolved, this organization came to play a major role in building Honolulu from a collection of mud streets and thatched houses to a bustling cosmopolitan center.
Today, the Chamber continues to represent the interests of Hawaii’s business community. With more than 2,000 member companies representing over 200,000 employees, the Chamber serves as the “Voice of Business” in Hawaii.
The California Gold Rush of 1848 created a demand for food and supplies from Honolulu and Hawaii’s business boom began. People and goods quickly began to flow back and forth between Honolulu and San Francisco ports. A small group of merchants realized that to secure the advantages the islands had to offer for commerce, they would need to stand together with common goals and policies for trade and commerce, along with addressing the concerns of the island community.