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Home / Your Chamber / Ashland Chamber Annual Dinner 2023

The 115th Ashland Chamber Annual Dinner was held on Thursday, October 5, 2023 at Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites to a capacity crowd of over 230 people representing business owners, government and non-profit leaders and donors.

Annual Dinner 1
Annual Dinner 2
Annual Dinner 3
Annual Dinner 4

Annual Dinner 5

Gary Blake, 2021-2023 President of the Board of Directors, served as Master of Ceremonies thanking those who operate our small businesses, sharing accomplishments of the Chamber over the past year and honoring Board members, Past Presidents, committee chairs and community partners. He presented the gavel to Deena Branson who will serve as President for 2023-24 having served in the 2019-21 years. 
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Entertainment was provided by Cellist, Daniel Sperry. 
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A surprise pop-up musical event by Southern Oregon Repertory Singers wowed the crowd
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Past Presidents were honored for their decades of dedication to the Chamber:
Left to right: Jim Teece (2001-02), Meiwen Richards (2009-10), Bob Rasmussen (1995-96), Barbara Allen (1987-88), Mary Gardiner (2017-19), Dennis Slattery (1991-93), Gary Blake (2021-23), Cindy Bernard (2013-15), Marie Lange (2015-17), Deena Branson (2019-21)

Retiring Board members recognized for their contributions to the Chamber:
Eli Katkin, Brickroom Restaurant and
Anne Robison, The Crown Jewel 
Annual Dinner 9

Dr. David Humphrey, SOU Oregon College of the Arts, was the featured speaker on the theme for the dinner: 
Ashland – Where Nature and Culture Come Together
The highlight of the evening are always the awards
which were given to the following individuals:
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Greeter of the Year: Jeffery Nagel & Robynne Whitaker of the NW Real Estate Team
Presented by Dana Preston
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Spoken Word by Blaine Lindsey
On “Greeters”
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Visitor Industry Leader of the Year 
Vicki Capp of The Iris Inn

Presented by Katharine Cato
Annual Dinner 12

Sustainable Business of the Year:
Recology Ashland and Oregon Center for the Arts

Presented by Katharine Cato

Annual Dinner 13

Volunteer of the Year: Catherine Lutes
Presented by Sandra Slattery

Annual Dinner 14

Honorary Life Member: Dana Welsh 
Presented by Sandra Slattery


Citizen of the Year: Ashland Residents who volunteer and donate to the arts Presented by Gary Blake
Board of Directors for 2023-24
Don Anway – Neuman Hotel Group 
Marsha Billeci – Evergreen Federal Bank 
Gary Blake, Recology Ashland – Past President 
Deena Branson – Branson’s Chocolates – President for 2023-24
Catherine Greenspan – New York Life Insurance & Two Sisters Writing & Publishing
Julie Gurwell – Hearsay Restaurant, Lounge & Garden 
Eric Hansen – True South Solar
Jordan Pease – Rogue Valley Metaphysical Library
Chris Spirko – Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker
Dr. Susan Walsh – SOU Provost
Eric Weisinger – Weisinger Family Winery 
Greg White – Reinholdt & O’Harra Insurance
Ex-officio members:
SOU President – Dr. Rick Bailey
School Superintendent – Samuel Bogdanove
Kristin Roy - Asante Ashland Community Hospital
Tyler Hokama – OSF Executive Director
Joe Lessard – City Manager
Council liaison – Gina DuQuenne

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