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Sharon Silva: Putting Turlock first in business, service

Sharon Silva: Putting Turlock first in business, service

Sharon Silva has a long history of serving Turlock, and is in her 14th year as president/CEO of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce.

POSTED January 28, 2013 12:06 p.m.

Turlock Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sharon Silva knows a thing or two about business. She has served the business community for 14 years at her current post, helping new startups find the resources they need, making the ever-changing human resources laws and regulations easy to understand for long-time operations and advocating at the highest levels of government for the best interests of all local industries.

“For me, there are so many facets to this job, we deal a lot with legislation and deal with economical engineers, which are the businesses, and we have a wonderful partnership with the city. I had to deal with everyone and sometimes it is demanding, but it is always for a positive purpose. It is always to make sure that our members are getting the best service that we can give them to be the best that they can be,” Silva said.

Silva's commitment to Turlock's businesses also extends into the community at large — a community she helped develop, in part.

She served as the executive director of the Turlock Downtown Association chaired its Design Committee when Main Street underwent a major facelift in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In fact, the project was so successful the downtown association received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Revitalization Achievement in Design in 2001.

Her constructive actions in Turlock have spanned well over a decade, and continue to shape the community’s integrity. Silva has embodied various business aspects throughout her life, and utilizes these experiences to execute significant decisions in fostering the community. She served for eight years on the school board, owned and co-owned a phone center and a moving company, and actively worked as a fundraiser for non-profit organizations.

As a public figure, Silva hosts an impressive resume of civic activities in Turlock. She has worked with the Building, Planning, Engineering, and Fire departments; the Beautification Committee; the Arts Commission; was co-chair of the Centennial Committee in 2008; president of the CSU Stanislaus Warrior Association; serves on board for the College of Business at CSU Stanislaus; past board director for the Turlock Community Theater; past Rotary Club president; and board director for the Stanislaus County Workforce Alliance.

As a woman in the business world, there are unforgiving facets to working with men due to societal constraints. But Silva recounts working with men as a learning experience, and an opportunity to share perspectives rather than negate them.

“The truth is you get respect for what you do. Women still have to prove themselves today, but I think everyone has to prove themselves today. I’m surrounded by a lot of business men who are leaders. A lot of the people that I deal with are male. I cannot be more lucky; they have my back, they take care of me, and they treat me like one of them. They listen to what I have to say. I’ve grown from them,” she said.

Silva’s philosophy of business is focused on building relationships and utilizing leadership skills to help others.

“I like relationships,” she said. “I think things should be built on relationships.”

Silva’s roots run deep in Turlock, and her experiences have gained her many insights into business in the process. In order to uphold a strong business or leadership position, Silva suggests remaining vigilant of customers, public officials, and daily news.

“They have to stay in touch and connected to all powers, including legislation, as well as learning everything they can about their scope of business. They need to continue their training and training for their employees. All business leaders should have a voice and know if these people are going to fight with them or build with them,” she said.

Silva herself continues to take her own advice, and it has earned her accolades. In 2011 she received the Chamber Executive of the Year award from the Western Division of Chamber Executives, representing the 14th state, and the Woman of the Year Award for the 26th Assembly District. 

Despite all the hard work and long hours Silva puts into the Chamber and community, she wouldn't have it any other way.

"And I love it,” she said. “I feel it is so important to like what you do and to do what you like because when we have to get up and go to work every day, you need to want to. You need to be invested.”

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