Mandy Le said it was fate that led her to her job as president and CEO of the American Canyon Chamber of Commerce.
Before that, she wasn’t familiar with the nonprofit. But after searching for “a job with a purpose,” the chamber role intrigued her, she said.
“I fell in love with chamber work and began pursuing it as a full time career,” she said.
Le had been the head of the chamber for the past two years.
1. What was your first job?
I worked as a stall cleaner and horse groomer for an Arabian show horse farm in Michigan. It was the only way I could afford to ride and show horses when I was a kid.
2. What job would you like to try/not try?
Not try: Anything that Mike Rowe has done.
3. What’s a common question or misconception you get about the American Canyon Chamber of Commerce?
“What do you do there?”
We connect with all the businesses in American Canyon and represent them with the city and we operate the welcome center. We’re also the voice of American Canyon for tourists.
Or sometimes (people) think that I am a city employee, when, in fact, we are our own nonprofit.
4. What are some other American Canyon facts people might not be aware of?
-All of the horse statues you see at PF Chang’s (restaurants) all over the world are made in American Canyon by Kreysler & Associates.
-We have billions and billions of cases of wine that move through American Canyon each year.
-Vitamin Water is made here in American Canyon.
5. What is the biggest challenge your chamber has faced?
Staying relevant. Change is a definite. As the voice of business, we always have to change and adjust our programs and direction, while staying true to our mission.
6. Who do you most admire in the business world?
Simon Sinek, author of “Start with Why,” Joan Garry, author “Guide to Nonprofit Leadership” and Katie Simmons, the CEO of the Chico chamber and a leader in our industry.
7. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?
Serve on a missionary trip with my kids and enjoy a glass of wine in the Napa Valley Ruins & Gardens with (longtime American Canyon resident) Fran Lemos and Deb Castles (of Watson Ranch).
8. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
My grandmother was born into a political family in Germany (not with the Nazi party). She moved to Detroit, Mich., but never became a U.S. citizen for reasons unknown to me.
Her green card never kept her away from city hall. She modeled the importance of civic engagement and community involvement.
Many of her acknowledgements and awards hang on the walls in my office to remind me that I don’t need to hold an elected position to make difference in this world. We all can make an impact by showing up and sharing our perspective.
9. What was your childhood ambition?
I lived and breathed horses. I couldn’t think beyond the show season.
10. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
Unplugged and in nature somewhere with my family.