Raphael Henderson (Courtesy photo)

Wells Fargo Banking Executive Raphael Henderson was sworn in as the incoming chairman of the board for the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, along with three other new board members, on Friday, June 24.

In addition to Henderson, Mike Antenesse of Foothill Unity Center, Lynelle Bryant of Masbuild, Inc., and John Burt of Intelligent Leadership Executive Coaching were sworn in as new members of the board of directors.

Both Chamber of Commerce and community members celebrated Henderson’s installation before an audience of about 200 in the Vienesse Ballroom of the historic Langham Hotel in Pasadena.  Business and political leaders filled the ballroom including State Senator Anthony Portantino, Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo, Pasadena Councilmember Felicia Williams, former Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard and Interim Pasadena City Manager Cynthia Kurtz.

Other civic and business leaders included real estate developer Andrew Oliver, Tournament of Roses Executive Board Members Ed Morales and Craig Washington, YWCA-GLA Vice President Cynthia Mitchell Heard, and USC Vice President of Diversity Michelle Turner and her husband, Dr. Todd Turner, as well as his good friend, Pasadena Outlook Publisher Charlie Plowman.

Henderson also acknowledged his fraternity brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity who were in attendance as well as the members of the USC Black Alumni Association and his brothers from Gamma Zeta Boule who were also on hand to witness Henderson’s installation.

Visibly overwhelmed by the amount of support he received in celebrating his installation as chairman, Henderson delivered a heartfelt speech expressing appreciation for his wife, Tyra Henderson, and his two sons, Christian and Connor.

But, the biggest ovation of the night came when he acknowledged the presence of his 90-year-old father, who also attended the celebration.  Following the recognition of his family and friends, Henderson highlighted the incredible work of Pasadena Chamber President Paul Little and the chamber staff, who worked he said worked overtime to support all of the local businesses that were greatly affected over the past two-and-one-half years by the COVID pandemic.

“What sets us apart, even in a socially distanced and quarantined world, is the one-on-one service the Chamber staff has provided,” Henderson said. “Members and businesses, large and small, found the Chamber to be the resource they needed.”

He also noted the Chamber’s efforts to diversify the membership and the Board. “The minority business initiative that we established with the Pasadena Chamber Foundation with significant funding from Chamber member Essence has helped us expand our membership among underserved communities in the greater Pasadena area. We are seeing membership growth as a result.”

Henderson also noted the great diversity that the new chamber board represents.  He pointed out that the current make-up of the board is comprised of Black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific Islanders and women members.

“That is more than half of the Chamber Board of Directors,” he said. “46% of our board is female. 30% are Black, Hispanic, Asian American or Pacific Islanders.”  Also, Henderson swore in the new and returning Pasadena Chamber Board members.

The evening also included the presentation of several scholarships for students transferring from community college to a four-year college or university.   Two of the scholarship awardees were former foster youth, who each received $2,500 scholarships from the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

An additional $1,000 scholarship was presented to Jesse Aguiar from The Law Offices of Lewis Roca, a Pasadena Chamber member.   Former Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard also presented two scholarships to Jasmine Brown and Jonathan Tirado.

The Langham Huntington Hotel, Pasadena and the Pasadena Community Foundation were recognized for their longstanding commitment to the Pasadena community and significant contribution to the economic health and well-being of Pasadena.

The program included a special presentation to Darryl Dunn, retiring general manager and chief executive officer of the Rose Bowl.