Denita Willoughby, vice president of supply management and support services at SoCalGas, was installed recently as board chair of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce (LAACC) at the Chamber’s Inaugural Dinner Jan 30.

Willoughby is the first African-American woman to serve as chair since the Chamber’s inception in 1888.

“SoCalGas is proud to have such an outstanding member of our team be recognized in this way,” said Jimmie Cho, chief operating officer at SoCalGas. “We are certain that Denita’s tenacity, motivation and commitment will shine through in her role as board chair of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.”

“In my role as board chair of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, I plan to continue to help move this great city forward. I want us to build on the strengths of our city and tackle the weaknesses,” Willoughby said. “One focus for me will be the need to create sustainable and resilient communities but in a way that is realistic for all Angelenos. Coming from SoCalGas, where we provide millions of Southern Californians with a basic necessity, it is important that everyone has affordable energy as we move into the 21st century energy system.”

Willoughby, a Chicago native, has resided in Los Angeles for more than two decades. She earned her engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin and her Master of Business Administration from Harvard University. Denita currently serves as vice president of supply management and support services for SoCalGas and previously served as regional vice president, external affairs, where she led the company’s community relations, public affairs, media and employee communications efforts.

Willoughby’s role as vice president of supply management and support services is crucial to SoCalGas’ plan for a 21st century energy system. The vice president oversees a team which ensures the company has the materials and support needed to innovate and create the technologies and systems for renewable energy as SoCalGas looks toward the future of energy in California. Last year, SoCalGas announced its vision to be the cleanest gas utility in North America with plans to replace 20 percent of its traditional gas supply with renewable natural gas (RNG) by 2030 – and five percent by 2022.

“The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is incredibly fortunate to have the bold leadership of Denita Willoughby as our 2020 Board Chair. This is truly an exciting time and I’m looking forward to her partnership and support as we continue to chart the course to inspire the change that the region needs, and to address some of our most complex problems. We look forward to her leadership to help create a thriving region for all,” said Maria S. Salinas, president & CEO for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

“The Chamber has launched a new strategic plan to champion economic growth, amplify Los Angeles’ position as a global center and enhance opportunities for our entire community. This is a transformative step for the Chamber as we re-imagine our role in bringing about prosperity with economic growth that is inclusive and globally competitive. Denita is the perfect partner to guide the Chamber as we lead into a new decade.”