Atascadero, Calif. – October 31, 2022: In order to promote equity and inclusion in Atascadero and to assist local businesses with acquisition of talent and creating healthy workplaces, the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce has formed a Diversity Council comprised of community volunteers. The council has published a handbook with tools and recommendations to assist businesses in increasing workforce diversity and maintaining fair work environments. The handbook can be accessed for free on

“As a community builder, we are dedicated to making intentional, actionable strides to ensure our city is one of increased equity and inclusion,” said Josh Cross, Chamber President and CEO. “It is important for us to focus on DEI through the lens of business, because incorporating DEI will create a positive impact on our community and can help businesses compete in this era of labor shortages and talent retention. Incorporating DEI practices in a business and marketing plan can also increase customer base.”

Advocates observe that a focus on DEI helps businesses to address the pressing issue of finding and retaining quality employees. “There’s definitely a shifting priority about workplace happiness,” said Raechelle Bowlay, Chair of the Diversity Council. “Because of technology, work can follow people wherever they go. Employees are not just focusing on monetary and medical benefits. Now workers seek balance and connection to their community. Employers who offer flexible schedules and family-friendly workplaces are retaining more employees than their counterparts.”

Bowlay recently presented the program at a SLO Public Safety meeting and at the Regional Equity Roundtable. She encourages business owners and nonprofit leaders to join the growing list of local people who have taken the DEI Pledge, also found on the Chamber website. Those who pledge commit to ensuring that there are no barriers to success in their workplace based on gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, or economic standing. They also commit to the ongoing work of learning and educating about diversity and inclusivity.

“DEI is not just about race; it’s also about being thoughtful about age, culture, gender, and family dynamics,” says Bowlay. “We’re all human beings and therefore connected,” says Bowlay. “We want to be inclusive as a community. If people don’t feel like they belong at work, they may feel like they are not part of moving Atascadero forward. We’re all different and we all can offer empathetic compassion. I am hopeful.”

If you are interested in volunteering on the Diversity Council or taking the DEI Pledge of responsibility and accountability, register and learn more at

About Us
The Atascadero Chamber of Commerce exists to be the Catalyst for business growth, the Convener for leaders and influencers, and the Champion for a stronger Atascadero community. Together, we #MoveAtascaderoForward.

CONTACT: Dawn Smith, Director of Communications
Atascadero Chamber of Commerce
303.968.7049 cell