The GSBA Blog

After 19 Amazing Years, GSBA President & CEO Louise Chernin is Retiring

by GSBA President & CEO Louise Chernin, GSBA Board Chair Stephanie Dallas
| Sep 18, 2020

GSBA Members & Community,

A decision may be both right and difficult at the same time, which is true of my decision to retire as President & CEO of GSBA, a position I have held for nearly 19 years. It is not an overstatement to say that serving in a leadership role in GSBA has been one of the most impactful, fulfilling, and life-changing experiences of my life. 

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Given the strength and visionary leadership in GSBA, with its outstanding Board, currently under the expert leadership of Stephanie Dallas; an extraordinary and talented staff, that works tirelessly on behalf of our small business members and students and a membership committed to doing good through business, I step down, confident that GSBA is in good hands. As for me, I am not going anywhere. This is my community, which I love. My role is changing but not my commitment to social justice.

The Board of Directors has appointed a search committee of GSBA Board and community members, which will be led by Board Treasurer Carolyn Hojaboom. The committee will oversee a national search to ensure an inclusive and successful recruiting process for the next President & CEO. We have retained Campbell & Company, a national consulting firm for nonprofits, to lead the search process. 

Click here to read the job description and learn more about the role.

This is an incredible professional opportunity, please spread the word to a wide range of diverse, prospective candidates and encourage them to apply. You may send nominations and applications to

We value your input and want to hear from you!

GSBA is in place to welcome new leadership during this time of great challenge and huge opportunity to address the economic disparities within our state and nation. GSBA is stable, sound, and well positioned to continue the important work that still needs to be done. Please stay tuned for an invitation early next year to introduce our new President & CEO to the community. 

For the future,

Louise Chernin (She/her)
GSBA President & CEO

A Message from Stephanie Dallas, GSBA Board Chair:

Stephanie DallasWe are beyond fortunate to have had Louise Chernin as our President & CEO for these last 19 years, leading us with her passion, experience, dedication, vision, and clarity to bring GSBA to a place of strength, depth, and breadth as an organization. Louise is responsible for an enormous share of that which constitutes the very heart and soul of GSBA, built with her unwavering commitment to our mission and to our community.

Happily, we continue that good fortune with Louise as we look forward to her sustained involvement with organizations fighting for social justice and economic equity, which includes her continued commitment to GSBA. She has never been afraid to speak out for equity and inclusion, and in fact, she typically leads the charge. Knowing Louise, I trust that will not change and she will continue to inspire and lead all of us in the coming years.

I am pleased to share that the GSBA Board put in place a succession plan many years ago, and we have already implemented key elements of the plan, including formation of a CEO Search Committee and the hiring of a search firm, Campbell & Co.

The Search Committee is comprised of Board and community members who represent GSBA’s varied stakeholders. I am excited and grateful for their eagerness to put in the considerable time, thought and dedication it takes to lead the Board’s search for GSBA’s new leader. The Search Committee Members include (* denotes current Board member):

       - Carolyn Hojaboom*, Hojaboom Consulting, Search Committee Chair
       - Carrie Carson*, Point B, GSBA Scholarship Fund Chair
       - Brandon Chun*, Lavender Rights Project
       - Stephanie Dallas*, GSBA Board Chair
       - Jennifer Divine, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, former GSBA Board member
       - Susan Fuller*, Law Office of Susan K. Fuller, PLLC
       - Isyss Honnen, TRANSform Washington, GSBA Scholarship Fund Alum
       - Dustin O’Quinn*, Lane Powell, Liaison from the GSBA DEI Task Force
       - Tristen Pamphlet-Gardner, King County, Former GSBA Staffmember
       - Jay Peterson*, Blue Wave Political Partners
       - Mona Smith, Mona Smith, PLLC, Former GSBA Board Chair
       - Steven Wakefield, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (ret.)

Additionally, we are including input from our 16 GSBA staff members to make sure their important voices and perspectives are included. A BIG thank you goes to each of them and to the Search Committee members.

I am also proud to announce that GSBA Deputy Director, Mark Rosén, will step in as Acting President & CEO if we do not have someone in the position before Louise completes her time at the helm. Everyone knows Mark as a thoughtful and passionate leader for GSBA, and we are thrilled that he is willing to serve in this way. This will provide a smooth transition period, should we need him in the role, most likely no longer than a few months.

In the meantime, we will continue our work to lift small business, our scholars, and the LGBTQ community, giving voice to social and economic equity. We look forward to our next chapter with new voices and new faces in our future as GSBA strides forth into the next decade!


Stephanie Dallas (She/her)
Board Chair, GSBA Board of Directors