Presidents’ Emeritus Message – September 2020

Presidents’ Emeritis Message

We are  saddened by the loss of our President Lauren Hanley, who died suddenly on August 27, 2020.

Lauren joined the chamber as an employee of Nerd Crossing, and quickly became an integral member of the board, with special focus on our website and business promotions.  Lauren was elected to the office of President starting January of this year.

Former president and long time Chamber board member Jim Cowen summed up the board’s sentiments this way: “In 35 years as an El Sobrante Chamber Board member, I have seen many people come and go, and I have seen the Chamber lose some great members.  Lauren brought a refreshing new perspective to the Chamber Presidency. Her energy, commitment, ideas, and willingness to help others was a great benefit to the El Sobrante community. Her presence was an incredible blessing, making her passing an even larger loss. And, as much as it is a loss for us, it is surely surpassed by the loss to her family, and her boyfriend.”

Details on a virtual memorial later in September will be announced.

Please keep her parents, her partner, her family and her many friends and colleagues  in your prayers.

Scott Tuffnell, past President

President’s Message – August 2020

Hi El Sobrante,

This month, I would like to give a special shout-out to the Green Team, who worked tirelessly to clean up litter and weeds in El Sobrante in July. This was a much-needed operation to improve our special town and we are so appreciative of their efforts, especially during this pandemic.

The Green Team will be participating in another clean-up event on August 8th. If you have any questions or would like to help and/or donate buckets, gloves, etc., please contact Holly Anne at

Please remember to wear your masks! We wish you all the best of luck and as always, please let us know how we can assist you.

Again, thank you to the Green Team & the El Sobrante Community!

– Lauren Hanley

President’s Message – July 2020

Hi El Sobrante,

We hope you are all staying healthy and happy. I want to reach out to everyone to let them know that we are here for you. Please continue to keep safe, and if your business is open, continue to protect your customers. There is a new COVID-19 testing facility at Kennedy High School in Richmond. Please call 1-844-421-0804 to book an appointment.

If you need any promotions, please reach out to us at We are offering commercials to our Chamber Members, courtesy of our awesome Board Members, especially Tom Lang and Judy Ward. If you know of non-members who want to promote their business, please have them reach out to us too.

We are doing our best to continue to help our community. If you have any suggestions, please email us and let us know how we can assist. Our purpose is to serve you.

I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Lauren Hanley

President’s Message – May 2020

Hello El Sobrante,

I hope you are all safe and doing well.

During these difficult times, it’s comforting to see so many people coming together to help other residents and businesses in our community. It’s clear that in El Sobrante, we feel strongly about taking care of each other, and we act on it. As you may know, we have started a Masks Matter program. Many of our members and others in the community have come forward to lend a hand by donating masks. If you would like to donate, please contact Scott Tuffnell for a no-contact pick-up of your masks.

If your business is open, please contact us at so we can help promote you. We are putting together a guide of all businesses that are still in operation. We will include your address, contact information, your COVID-19 safety measures, and your hours of operation.

I wish you all the best of luck and I look forward to when we can see each other again!

Lauren Hanley

President’s Message – April 2020

Hello El Sobrante,

I hope you and your loved ones are all safe and doing well during these trying times.

In our small community, there are so many ways to help others. We can order delivery from local restaurants, support other businesses through remote work, offer assistance to the elderly by providing meals, and generally being civil to one another. We have received many emails from community members offering to help those who need assistance. We are overjoyed to receive this outreach and are so grateful to have such fantastic people around us. Thank you!

If you can offer any support to your community, please let us know. And if you need help with anything, please also let us know. We will be sending out several emails to local residents and businesses, and are planning on setting up a forum so we can make sure every community member is taken care of. If you have a local business, let us know if you’re in operation, offering sales, needing assistance, or anything we (or you) can do to help others. We will gladly help promote you, free of charge.

We are all in this together. I am grateful to be a member of such a caring and wonderful community. Please remember that the Chamber is here to serve YOU. Take advantage of that.

Thank you and stay safe,

Lauren Hanley

President’s Message – February 2020

Hello, everyone! I’d like to use my first About Town message to thank everyone for their support as I step in as President. When I was asked to join the Board of Directors a year ago, I was thrilled to immerse myself further in our amazing community. It’s been an honor to be involved in our Board meetings, morning seminars, mixers, scholarship parties, and of course, the fantastic El Sobrante Stroll.

I’d like to thank the El Sobrante Chamber Team for their support and great ideas. Everyone in El Sobrante is more fortunate because of their hard work. I’d especially like to thank Scott Tuffnell for his faith in me, his friendship, and for selling me a great house! I know that any success I have as President is because I can rely on Scott and the rest of our Board, Officers and Staff to help me along the way.

I’m excited about 2020 and the future of El Sobrante!

Lauren Hanley

President’s Message – January 2020


It has been extremely gratifying to serve as President of the Board of Directors for the Chamber for the last three years.  I am humbled by the level of commitment and dedication exemplified by the members of the Board, who voluntarily gave up many nights, weekends and more to serve this community, month after month, year after year at board meetings, other civic board meetings, community social events, community pride events, and neighborhood clean –up and security watch events.

While it is almost too easy to look back at the past year, or years, and recite accomplishments and short-comings I’ve had, I would much rather look forward to the future, hoping my foresight is as clear or better than my hindsight.  I will save my “year in review” remarks for the upcoming Installation Dinner, January 25, 2020.

The new Board of Directors will be sworn in at the annual Installation dinner on January 25th.  Look for the invitation, open to all, in this newsletter and on our website. I am very excited to serve under president-elect Lauren Hanley this coming year. The 2020 Board of Directors will be a great mix of experienced, and dedicated leaders ready to take on the challenges of the new year.  I will step back into a role of Director, and support the vision of the President and the Community to continue to make a better place for us all.

Thank you for your support and for the opportunity to be of service.

May 2020 be a healthy, prosperous year for everyone.


President’s Message – December 2019

We have arrived at the end of the calendar year 2019. It is also near the end of my third term as President of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. As I prepare to leave office in January, I have been taking stock on what we have done together as a community, and what I plan to do next to continue in service. But, as that sounds more like a speech than a message, I will save those thoughts to share at the Installation Dinner Banquet in January. Look for a save the date notice in this month’s newsletter and on the website. Until then, my wife Jenny and I wish everyone a healthy, happy holiday season filled with hope and prosperity for all.

President’s Message – November 2019

November is considered by many to be Gratitude Month, a time to reflect with appreciation that which we have experienced and received during the past year.  That’s part of the origin of the many Harvest Festivals, Fall Fairs and holidays expressing thanks for the harvest. The changing seasons and more dot the calendar.  November gets our traditional holiday schedules into gear and we prepare to spend time with friends and family celebrating our relationships and gratitude for each other.

John F. Kennedy said “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  Hosting or participating in parties and events is one way to express gratitude for what we have.  President Kennedy’s words go beyond simply expressing gratitude by suggesting we should strive to live in gratitude.  That can prove to be a difficult practice in the present….if we allow it to be difficult.

Sure, we live in a period of certain uncertainty, to a point.  Wildfires, power outages, earthquakes and more make our environment literally unstable.  We are transfixed to our smart phones, checking to see if our locations are under threat of blackout.  We download the newest earthquake alert app so we can be notified seconds before an earthquake occurs – anywhere in the world.  We watch with nervous anticipation as the latest wildfire consumes vegetation and homes and wonder if we might be next in line.  It’s easy to live in anxiety.

It’s also possible to train our thinking to live in gratitude.  Years ago I began a daily practice of literally writing down five things I am grateful for.  Early lists were obvious, my wife, my daughters and grandchildren, my dogs, my job and co-workers, etc.  Sometimes in a calmer, maybe even romantic mood I could find appreciation in nature or work at the hands of others creating art.  Recently I’ve even added to my gratitude list such things as the creation of new technologies, and the generosity of others.  I also am grateful to those with open-minded willingness to try to live in gratitude themselves.  I have witnessed the transformation over time of those who have also begun to write a gratitude list and watched their own lives become transformed.  Those who have been successful in adopting this practice have become happier themselves, and make those around them happier as well.  Wouldn’t it be great to see this become contagious?  Try it for 30 days. Happy Gratitude Month.


President’s Message – October 2019


We had a great time at this year’s El Sobrante Stroll!  I must admit it was a bit surreal and humbling to be the Grand Marshal of the parade.  Mark Croda was an excellent host to both the Stroll Car Show and to me riding in his Excalibur car in the parade. What a thrill!

It was great to see so many friends and neighbors that day, and the weather was perfect.  Thanks to every one of the many volunteers who helped plan the Stroll, direct traffic, put up signs, barriers, tables and chairs; to the bands that created a festive environment with music coming from all sides; to Jeff Jerge and the Peddler Bike shop for the excellent Bike show – another very important part of the Stroll for many years; to all the food vendors and restaurants for providing the fantastic variety of snacks and meals to the attendees; to the crafters and merchants for bringing their wares for purchase; to the community organizations for supplying information about their services and plans for the community; to the Sheriff  Deputies, fire fighters, EMTs and other first responders who worked that day to help keep everyone safe and healthy; and to John Gioia and his staff, especially James Lyons, for their assistance in getting the repaving project done in time for the stroll, getting the approval to close the road for the day, attending the event (special thanks also to James for judging the parade) and representing our community at the county.  Finally, thank you to all who attended – it’s worth the many hours of planning and laboring to put on this event when we get the great turn out we had and the GREAT support of the community.  Thank you everyone.

In the course of writing this month’s message, I received word of the passing of Maurice Abraham, a member of the Chamber Board of Directors as well as a dear friend and neighbor to us all.  Maurice has been an inspiration to me regarding service to this community we both love, and I will miss his views on improving our little corner of the world.  I along with my wife Jenny express our sincerest condolences to Maurice’s wife Jean and the rest of the family.