Six years ago, Geri LaChance moved to San Luis Obispo from San Diego to become president and CEO of SESLOC Federal Credit Union, the place where locals got their first real savings account and park during weekend soccer tournaments at Damon Garcia.
She wasted no time getting involved in the community, from spearheading new headquarters for SLO’s largest locally based financial institution to volunteering with the Chamber, YMCA and Miracle Miles for Kids, just to name a few.
We sat down with your triple threat of an incoming Chamber Board Chair (she holds degrees in business economics, marketing and finance) to talk Mary Tyler Moore, dream jobs and sunsets—all with a British accent.
Song currently on repeat: “Linus and Lucy.” That’s my “pick me up” song if I’m feeling a little low or lazy. It’s hard not to smile and feel energized after hearing it.
Something you do every day: I am pretty good about taking 5-10 minutes both first thing in the morning and at night for silent reflection, meditation and clearing my head. So many days seem to be an endless jog to meetings and events; I truly embrace making time to start and stop the day in a more peaceful manner.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: As a child, I thought the perfect job would be the Main Street Tour Guide at Disneyland! I suppose in a way my job now still has me guiding people, but not with the cute plaid skirt and velvet cap those tour guides had in the ‘60s.
Guilty pleasure: Binge watching “The Crown” and “The Great British Baking Show.” I’ll be speaking with a British accent fairly soon if I don’t round out my viewing.
Pet peeve: People who sustain a negative outlook as their primary outlook in life.
Movie/TV character you most strongly identify with: I was influenced as a teen in the early ‘70s by “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Her character had a career, her own apartment, her own identity. Her independence and success as an individual was still pretty new for young women, and new to TV.
Favorite quote: “I’m on a 30-day diet and so far I’ve lost 15 days.”
What are you most looking forward to as SLO Chamber Board Chair? There has been tremendous work done in 2017 that will result in an updated Vision document for the Chamber in 2018. Thirty-five individuals from throughout the county participated on a vision trip to Denver and Boulder, and a dozen others worked every Friday for 10 weeks sifting through challenges and opportunities to guide and grow a stronger, collaborative region. Diverse, committed minds are focused on what this region can be, not about what we’re losing with the Diablo closure. I am excited that this vision work will drive better discussions on solutions and alternatives for our area this year. Opening the doors to “what can be…” is percolating through many sectors and as we navigate the changes. I believe we will see collaborative conversations grow in 2018, which will foster fresh ideas, more trusted relationships and a better long-term future to this place we all love as home.
Describe your perfect Sunday. I travel quite a bit personally and for work—a weekend free at home is golden. The ideal restful Sunday means staying within a 10-mile radius of home. That day might include early services with Father Matt at Nativity of Our Lady Catholic Community, a walk on the Bob Jones trail, brunch at Woodstone Marketplace then a stop at one of our awesome Edna Valley wineries for tasting and enjoying the beauty of the vineyards. Then home in time to see the sunset in Shell Beach.
If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about San Luis Obispo? If the magic wand had an unlimited budget, I would wish for an environmentally friendly light rail trolley system to connect us easily between communities in the county. But short of that, I would wish for continued and accelerated focus on the opportunities for providing more entry-level job choices for college graduates, to retain young talent here to grow and raise families. Full disclosure: I am biased, having just lost my older son to a Boston biotech when his desire was to remain here.