Lin and her shoes
BUSINESS LEADER - Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jennifer Lin settles in to her new office on a recent Friday. (Drew Penner / Los Gatan)

The current mayor of Monte Sereno hails from the Greater Toronto Area. And now, adding to the ranks of Canucks turned Silicon Valley leaders is the new executive director of the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce—as she is also from the GTA.

But while Jennifer Lin was born 50 years ago in a hospital in North York, Ontario, she moved to Danville in the East Bay when she was four.

So, it’s more accurate to call her a “Bay Area girl,” she explains.

Lin takes the reins of Los Gatos’ business booster from Catherine Somers, a formidable advocate for the community’s retailers, restaurateurs, salon owners and more, who espoused progressive priorities and pushed Town Council members to pull up their socks.

‘In a transition year, in a role like this, when you’re serving a lot of different constituencies, it’s really important to listen’

-Jennifer Lin, executive director of the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce

With a son and a stepson going off to college (one of them is headed to Vancouver, B.C.), Lin felt the time was the right to embrace this career move.

“I’ve realized in a transition year, in a role like this, when you’re serving a lot of different constituencies, it’s really important to listen,” she said.

After getting a Bachelor’s of Arts in sociology, she attended Columbia in New York, where she got a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration.

She launched into the consulting world during summer breaks, and scored positions with KPMG and Anderson.

She stayed with Anderson for three years and then transitioned into a specialized aspect of the field with a role at Addis Brand Strategy.

It suited her quite well. That’s because she enjoys identifying challenges and problems and then making adjustments.

“I love helping organizations run better,” she said. “I like fixing.”

That goes all the way back to her Canadian roots.

“I was definitely a creative kid,” she said. “There’s definitely a fastidious part of me. I just love efficiency. I like things working well. I’ve always been that way.”

Jennifer Lin ribbon cutting
Lin speaks during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a Santa Cruz Avenue salon. (Drew Penner / Los Gatan)

Lin pledges to tap into that aspect of her personality and put it to work for Chamber members.

“I do think that background is extremely relevant to what I’ll do here,” she said. “We serve the business community. We serve our community at large. We have a lot of stakeholders.”

Lin had returned to Danville to raise her children.

She moved to Los Gatos to marry—given that her husband works in the technology industry, it made more sense for them to be in the South Bay, she decided.

They’ve now been Los Gatos residents for four years.

One of the targets Lin has in her sights is marketing Los Gatos’ charm to a wider audience.

“How do we make the messaging of the town more interesting to visitors?” she wondered aloud. “We really have to deliver.”

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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