Women take the reins

With International Women’s Day being March 8, we thought it would be interesting to look at some prominent female leaders that have made an impact in the Carlsbad Chamber over the past 101 years. The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1923, however, the first female President of our organization was not until 1957. In 1957 and 1958 Miss A. Stephens Lowrie was the President of the Board. I was not able to find out much about her, but she remained the sole female leader on record for 20 more years. In 1976 Zetta Castle became the President of the Board. Zetta had a reputation as an exceptional artist here in Carlsbad.

Margaret Stanton may be one of the most noteworthy Board Chairs. She served as President in 1990 and again in 1998. She was the CFO at Jazzercise here in Carlsbad. She also became a City Council representative. One of her lasting claims to fame is that as she exited public office in 1998, she coaxed Matt Hall to run for office. That propelled him to run for City Council, which he first won in 1998. He served in that capacity for many years before becoming a three-term Mayor here in Carlsbad. Thank you, Margaret for your service and for giving Matt a nudge.

Elaine Lyttleton was another mover and shaker on the Carlsbad Chamber Board. 

She served as Board Chair in 1993. While serving as the Board leader, she spearheaded the campaign to bring LEGOLAND to Carlsbad. She led a delegation of business and civic leaders to Denmark to convince LEGO that Carlsbad was the site they should choose. After winning that battle, she led a ballot initiative to get the citizens of Carlsbad to approve of the move. It was not as easy as you may think, but she prevailed, and we are all glad she did. Last we heard, Elaine was living in Ramona tending her vineyard.

Hope Wrisley being honored as Carlsbad’s 2010 Citizen of the Year with Mayor Matt Hall and future Mayor, Keith Blackburn


Another noteworthy female leader on the Carlsbad Chamber Board was Hope Wrisley. Hope was Board Chair in 1995. She was a 47-year resident in Carlsbad and had a travel agency here in town. In 2011 she was honored as Carlsbad’s 2010 Citizen of the Year. Hope had been involved in everything from PTA, city commissions, Rotary and the Chamber. She has since passed away, but her son, Tim Wrisley, is the publisher of the Carlsbad Magazine.

All told we have had approximately 80 individuals serve as Board Chair or President in our 101 years (some served for two years, some served multiple times). Only 10% of those have been female to date. Some of the more recent ones include Gina McBride, Deb Beddoe, and Catherine Magaña. We are excited to welcome Amanda Miles, the Chief of Staff at Bitchin’ Sauce, as our Chair next year. Can’t wait to see what she does….. No pressure Amanda. Whatever you do, I’m sure it will be bitchin’!