180 Celebrate as Pasadena Chamber Recognizes Bakewell Company and Friends in Deed as Corporate Citizens; Katelyn Barchowsky Sworn in as Chair of the Board.

Guests treated to cocktail reception and gourmet dinner before program recognizing outgoing Chair Don Schweitzer, newly elected directors, corporate citizens and scholarship winners


The Viennese Ballroom at The Langham Huntington Hotel was the setting for the annual Pasadena Chamber Inaugural Gala on June 28, 2024. During the hosted cocktail reception, 180 guests were treated to appetizers, a hosted bar and jazz by Art Deco Entertainment along with a silent auction.

At 7:30 guests were ushered into the ballroom for an elegant dinner and festive program. Dinner consisted of baby arugula and frisee salad with grape and hazelnut relish and hazelnut balsamic. Dinner was grilled Moyer Farm beef tenderloin with port wine demi-glace and braised garlic shrimp accompanied by grilled vegetables and mashed potatoes. Dessert was a lemon cream tart with key lime meringue, fresh raspberries and raspberry Yuzu sherbet. Dinner was accompanied by a selection of French and California wines.

Photo of Chair_Katelyn_Barchowsky_and_Husband_Ansel_with_family_and_Guests
Chair Katelyn Barchowsky and husband Ansel with family and friends.

Guests included Congresswoman Judy Chu, State Senator Anthony Portantino, Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo and Pasadena Councilmember Felicia Williams. Other community and business leaders included Pasadena Center Operating Company CEO Mike Ross; Langham Huntington Hotel Managing Director and Regional Vice President Shane Pateman and Craig Washington who will be president of the Tournament of Roses for 2030.

Former Pasadena Chamber Board Chairs Dennis Buckley of Health Advantage Physical Medicine, Thomas Daly of Lewis Roca, George Falardeau of Pasadena Media, Raphael Henderson of Wells Fargo, John Leano of Bryan’s Cleaners and Ishmael Trone of F&M Business Centers joined current and former Chamber Board members at the event.

Outgoing Chair Don Schweitzer of Schweitzer Law Partners began the program by offering remarks about his tenure. “I am happy to report that the Chamber has gained more than 100 new members since last August,” he remarked. “I am especially pleased that our networking events have regained their attendance and are full of energy, enthusiasm and fun.”

The program continued as California State Senator Anthony Portantino swore in Katelyn Barchowsky of Storied Lane Marketing as Chair of the Chamber Board of Directors for 2024-25.

In accepting the responsibility, Ms. Barchowsky noted that, “I am honored to serve as this year’s Chair of the Board of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce. As the youngest person to step into this role, as well as the first in my generation to do so, I am looking forward to leading and serving alongside a dedicated, engaged, and committed Board of Directors and staff.”

Photo of Don_Schweitzer_receives_commendations_from_Congresswoman_Judy_Chu_State_Senator_Anthony_Portantino_City_Council_Member_Felicia_Williams
Don Schweitzer receives commendations from Congresswoman Judy Chu State Senator Anthony Portantino and Pasadena City Council Member Felicia Williams.

“As we look to the year ahead, we are focused on meeting the needs of our entire membership: large and small, across all backgrounds, industries, and sectors. This means continuing beloved signature services while also innovating to welcome the next generation of business leaders.,” Ms. Barchowsky said. “We will focus clearly and strongly on our services to members while finding opportunities for enhancements. We will also be taking a look at how we position and market membership to ensure prospective members can easily see why Chamber membership should be irresistible to them.”

“The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce is an incredibly special and vital organization in our city, “ Ms. Barchowsky noted. “I have always felt that way as a member, and I also feel fortunate to have seen it up close as Vice Chair of Member Services. When speaking to new members, I like to share my experience as essentially a poster child for how the Chamber can work for you when you invest your time in building relationships. About 85% of my clients come directly from Chamber events and referrals, and we even bought our first home with a Chamber realtor from a Chamber member last year.”

“My ask of each member this year is to attend an event you haven’t attended before. Meet your fellow members and build community because that’s how we all prosper together.”

Ms. Barchowsky was accompanied by her husband, Ansel, and her parents Gail and Jay Harris who came from  

Raqiyah Mays, Darlene Vergel De Dios and Venice Dunn photo
Raqiyah Mays, Darlene Vergel De Dios and Venice Dunn 

Pittsburg, PA, for the event, as well as a number of friends.

Ms. Barchowsky swore in new and returning Pasadena Chamber Board members. New Board member Seamus Gray of Pacific Premier Bank took the oath along with returning members Thomas Daly of Lewis Roca, George Falardeau of Pasadena Media, David Klug of the City of Pasadena, John Leano of BRYAN’S Cleaners, Nerissa Sugars of Hollywood Burbank Airport, Ishmael Trone of F&M Business Centers and Stephanie Yamashiro of New York Life. Ms. Barchowsky also administered the oath to the Executive Committee members Mike Antenesse of Foothill Unity Center, Lynelle Bryant of MasBuild, Inc., Emilio Padilla-Larios of the Langham Huntington Hotel, Don Schweitzer of the Schweitzer Law Firm and Justin Tsui of TeamLogicIT.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2024 Corporate Citizen of the Year awards to The Bakewell Company and Friends in Deed.

Photo of Corporate_Citizen_Honoree_Danny_Bakewell_Jr_with_Past_Chamber_Chairs_Ishmael_Trone_and_Raphael_Henderson
Corporate Citizen Honoree Danny Bakewell Jr with Past Chamber Board Chairs Ishmael Trone and Raphael Henderson.

In presenting the award to The Bakewell Company and Danny Bakewell, Jr., Ms. Barchowsky noted that “The Bakewell Company has built projects that brought important services and economic investment to Pasadena’s underserved communities. It was not easy, as some in our audience tonight know very well.”

“As a community activist, Danny Bakewell, Sr. was instrumental in bringing ideas of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to Pasadena and some of our more traditional institutions,” Ms. Barchowsky noted. “The Bakewell Family and the Bakewell Company keep pushing for justice and equity for everyone in our community.”

“Danny, Jr. and the Bakewell Family continue their investment in underserved communities,” she said. “I am very pleased to present the Corporate Citizen of the Year award to Danny Bakewell, Jr. and the Bakewell Company.”

“It is a deep honor to receive this recognition from the Chamber of Commerce,” Mr. Bakewell said at the event. “When we developed underused and neglected properties into two grocery stores in northwest Pasadena, we were responding to the needs of the community at a time when there was very little investment in our underserved communities.”

Rabbi Joshua Levine-Grater accepted the Corporate Citizen of the Year award on behalf of Friends in Deed. In presenting the award, Ms. Barchowsky noted that over its 130 year history, Friends in Deed “has brought people together to do what cannot be done alone.”

Photo of  Rabbi Joshua Levine-Grater receives Corporate Citizen plaque from Katelyn Barchowsky.jpg
Rabbi Joshua Levine-Grater of Friends in Deed receives Corporate Citizen plaque from Katelyn Barchowsky.

Currently, Friends in Deed operates The Food Pantry providing food assistance to more than 600 low-income and no-income families in the greater Pasadena and Altadena area each week. With The Women’s Room, they provide a daytime refuge to 35 to 40 women who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless each day. Friends in Deed has an emergency shelter program, which includes the bad weather shelter in winter months and motel stays throughout the year. Their Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program has provided $350,000 in short-term rental support to individuals and families at risk of becoming homeless. And, Friends in Deed also has a street outeach team that engaged nearly 300 individuals and resulted in 150 individuals no longer living on the streets of Pasadena.

Scholarships were also presented to emancipated foster youth to support their university studies. Two Bill Bogaard Scholarships were given on behalf of the Chamber to Deana Mendez and Robert Leagons. Ms. Mendez will be pursuing a graduate degree in social work at Azusa Pacific University. Mr. Leagons will be working toward a Master’s in Clinical Psychology at Texas Southern University. The Chamber scholarships were named in honor of former mayor Bill Bogaard upon his retirement as mayor.


Pasadena Chamber member and intellectual property attorneys Lewis Roca also presented a scholarship check to Daniel Bisuano to support his undergraduate 

Photo of Lewis Roca Scholarship winner Daniel Bisuano with Katelyn Barchowsky and the law firm's Tom Daly and Drew Wilson
 Lewis Roca Scholarship winner Daniel Bisuano with Katelyn Barchowsky and the law firm's Tom Daly and Drew Wilson. 

education at CalStateLA. Mr. Bisuano, who spent seven years in the juvenile justice system and is now pursuing a degree in English noted that the scholarship was particularly meaningful for him since, “people don’t usually step up to support people like me, people who spent time in the system, as we work to create a better future for ourselves.”