OCEANSIDE — Earlier this month, the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce announced member Haley Wonsley as the new chair of its board of directors.
A member of the Chamber’s board since 2018, Wonsley first joined the board through her role as senior account manager at Intesa Communications Group.
Wonsley has a background working in government relations, stretching from her current role at Intesa back to when she served as a legislative aide in Oceanside right after college.
For Intesa, she manages Intesa’s North County projects and serves a variety of other government relations and community outreach clients. Before joining Intesa, she spent six years serving as director of community affairs for Supervisor Bill Horn.
Before accepting her new role as chair of the board, Wonsley was chair of the Chamber’s Oceanside Young Professionals Network, which she helped found. She passed along that title after accepting her new role as board chair.
Wonsley also chairs the Chamber’s event task force, which was created to help figure out how to hold purposeful events for the Chamber and its larger partners and members to network while in the middle of a pandemic.
In addition to her work with the Chamber, Wonsley also serves on the board of directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oceanside. Not so long ago, Wonsley was once a Boys & Girls Club herself.
“Community service has always been a part of me professionally and personally,” Wonsley said.
For Wonsley, she wants to make sure her community is better off than when she first found it.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has hit everyone hard over the last year, Wonsley is inspired to see how resilient the community has been despite the many challenges along the way.
“Just the way people really came together was so inspiring,” she said. “We’re in this together, we don’t have to do this alone, and we’re proven stronger together.”
What makes the Chamber so special for Wonsley is having the platform to figure out how the city can revitalize itself as well as the advocacy the Chamber performs by reaching out to businesses, particularly minority-owned businesses, to give them a voice that before wasn’t always heard in the community.
Last year was big for the Chamber because it was the first time the organization ever endorsed any candidates, which worked out in the Chamber after its endorsed candidates, Councilmembers Ryan Keim and Peter Weiss, were elected.
While 2021 is an off-year for elections, it’s still significant to the Chamber, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year.
“We will continue to inspire leaders to join local boards and commissions if not run for office, educate people on vacancies and focusing on pandemic recovery,” Wonsley said.
Wonsley assumes her new role as board chair during a time when more and more women are coming into leadership positions. Kamala Harris broke a major glass ceiling for the country this year when she officially took office as the first female vice president.
“Having more women in leadership inspires more people who didn’t think it was possible,” Wonsley said. “I’m thankful for those who paved the way before me.”