Visalia Chamber President and CEO honored as Woman of the Year

State Senator Shannon Grove chooses Gail Zurek as this year’s district 16 woman of the year for her success in creating a business friendly community in Visalia

VISALIA – Visalia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gail Zurek was celebrated as Senate District 16’s Woman of the Year for 2022. Senator Shannon Grove nominated Zurek for her exceptional leadership and monumental accomplishments in Visalia.  

“Gail has been a strong advocate for businesses and has supported Visalia’s economic vitality,” Grove said. “She’s worked especially hard to put Visalia on the map, giving the community a key voice in California’s heartland.”

Gail Zurek
Visalia Chamber

On Friday April 29, city officials and community leaders met with Senator Grove to celebrate Zurek at the Darling Hotel in Visalia. Each year Grove nominates a woman from senate district 16 who is known for her hard work and dedication to improving the lives of those around her. 

During the pandemic, Zurek and the Visalia Chamber gave themselves to supporting local businesses as they had to reimagine their livelihood with market changes. Zurek thought outside the box and with the help of the Chamber, they provided resources, workshops and support to give local business owners peace of mind. They offered real solutions by working to create relief funds and held workshops on accessing federal and state programs. They also had weekly video messages that communicated the latest business information. The Visalia Chamber wanted to make sure local businesses thrived.

Zurek has served the Visalia Chamber for seven years. She has led community wide initiatives to create a microbrew district infusing the growing industry into Visalia’s Historic downtown. Zurek developed a program for children called Jr. CEO. The program is designed to teach children the value of starting their own company. She also created Impact Leadership Conference to provide young professionals with a strong world-class leadership training program. 

In addition to the good Zurek is doing for her community with the Chamber, she is also in her second year of pursuing her law degree at the San Joaquin College of Law. By getting her degree she will be able to more effectively help offer solutions to local businesses. Gail has been married to her husband Michael for twenty years and together they have two boys.

Every year, each California legislator gives a Woman of the Year award to an extraordinary woman in their district. This award has been ongoing since 1987 to help commemorate Women’s History month. The Woman of the Year award has also become an annual Capitol tradition to salute women who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and accomplishments within their communities. In recognition of their outstanding contributions, the women of the year are presented with a framed certificate from the Legislature.

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