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California Chamber holds annual expo event

LOS ANGELES – The American Indian Chamber of Commerce of California will host its annual Expo ’09 on the topic “Reaching New Heights Through the Spirit of Change” July 12 – 14 at the Agua Caliente Casino resort in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

The chamber, whose charter is to provide networking and support for American Indian business people in the Golden State, calls the annual Expo “Indian country’s best value and return for your time in a business conference.” Speakers are set to include Kevin Gover, executive director of the National Museum of the American Indian, and John Bohn, California Public Utilities Commissioner.

The chamber says the Expo “provides American Indian business attendees with presentations and one-on-one access to California’s top tribal leaders, corporations and government and municipal agencies.”

Other highlights of the meeting include a golf outing and the annual Junior American Indian Chamber of Commerce Youth Expo.

High-level sponsors include Southern California Edison, AT&T, PG&E, SoCalGas/SDG&E, Sempra Energy Utilities, and the California Water Association. Other sponsors include Southwest Gas Corporation, the San Miguel Band of Mission Indians, Fox Entertainment Group, the Walt Disney Company and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

July 12 will feature a networking social in the Star Suite of the resort, which has discounted rates for Expo attendees of $99.

The golf outing at the Pete Dye course at Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage will be held July 13. A continental breakfast to go and a box lunch will be supplied to golfers.

The first breakout session in the afternoon features a panel of California tribal leaders; gaming and non-gaming ventures will be discussed.

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An attendee reception and trade fair kickoff will follow at 6:30 p.m., and a steak dinner at 7 p.m. A business owner’s coffee will conclude the day’s events at 9 p.m.

On July 14, Bohn will be the keynote speaker following a “Spirit of Change” breakfast. Morning panels include “First Aid for Indian Biz During This Economy” and an agency update. There will also be a table-to-table “speed networking” exchange.

The lunch will feature a keynote by Gover.

Trade Show networking and a Planning for the Future roundtable will end the event.

July 14 is also the day for the Youth Expo. Sessions are planned for older and younger youth, and include a communication exercise, dress for success and creating your image, and a career planning buffet lunch with executives from Disney and Southern California Edison.

The chamber said it also provides mentoring opportunities to prospective Indian businesses and educational vehicles; and offers a number of scholarships for college and high school.

The group has three chapters – Southern California, Northern California and San Diego County. In addition to the Expo, it puts on two other annual events, a Recognition and MEDweek event and a Native American Heritage month luncheon.

Tracy Stanhoff is president of the group. She is a former tribal chair of the Prairie Band of the Potawatomi Nation.