Speak: Françoise Rhodes
Last updated 4/3/2020 at Noon
Borrego Springs’ new Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Françoise Rhodes, sat down with the Borrego Sun to discuss some goals for the future of the Chamber and the highly anticipated Borrego Days Desert Festival. Rhodes has an extensive marketing, media, and networking background and hopes to help Borrego achieve its goals.
What is your professional background and how does that benefit in your position as the executive director?
Here’s how I feel about the chamber: The chamber is not one person. The chamber is everybody. It’s the board, it’s the volunteers, it’s not just the executive director.
I certainly want to get away from that mentality that it’s just one person. So for me, everything I have done in the past, it just helps me to communicate to our membership of what the chamber does. Communicate to the staff, communicate to everyone, bring us hopefully all together as one. With my marketing background, I already see things that people here don’t even realize. One of the goals is to bring more exposure for different reasons to the area and that will be through social media and branding.
What would you like to achieve as the executive director?
For the Chamber to once again achieve unity with the community and serve the members and visitors to the best of our abilities.
Do you have any goals or specific plans to help Borrego businesses and tourism thrive, even in the summer months?
Coming from Coachella Valley, we have that same issue. But we have found through the years that if you have events that are pool parties and summer events, people will come. There’s that younger generation that wants to get away that would love to come out here for pool parties.
So I do hope to help the businesses with more fresh ideas of what they can do. Getting them to realize there is more out there than what they are used to, and more that they can take advantage of that doesn’t cost them anything.
I’ve already started visiting the businesses and knew of many before I became executive director, however, I’m amazed at what I’ve missed and that means if I’ve missed then many of the visitors do as well, so we need to change that.
What are some things you’d like people to know so they can continue to visit Borrego?
First off, it’s a year round destination. Borrego Springs is not only the gateway to the Anza Borrego Desert State Park and an International Dark Sky Community, but an adventure seekers paradise, however rest and relaxation comes easy. The area is pet friendly, offers travelers a variety of affordable lodging options. My list can go on and on.
Are there any new plans for Borrego Days?
The theme is Shadow’s Light Starry Nights. We have a really good strong committee. We have more people this year than ever. So we want to keep it all family-friendly. Instead of spending for outside help coming in, we’re going to spend it on the festival itself. We do have a lot of ideas, and I’m very excited. So far, the volunteers have everybody they need in committees. Borrego Days I think is going to be great.
What initially made you want to apply for this position?
Debbie sent me an email and said they were looking for an executive director, and I’ve been coming here for over 11 years, and I think there’s so much potential for Borrego. So I’m going to go with my strengths, have people help me with their strengths and we’re gonna see how it goes.
What is the Chamber’s plans or your plans to get people to join the Chamber and why should they join?
Often businesses and people in general shy away from joining organizations such as Chambers because of their preconceived notions of the time involved.
It’s up to the individuals to be involved as they choose, however, the exposure a business receives for these affordable membership fees is marketing 101, and well worth even the basics. As for my plans to get them to join, it’s all about building a solid relationship.