our community what it is , not only through Visit Gilroy , but the countless boards and clubs and groups she belongs to , is just amazing .”
In1990 , Jane immersed herself in the Gilroy community when she joined the Chamber of Commerce . She went on to serve as Chamber President , and then as a member of the Gilroy School board . “ I wanted to bring business principles to education ,” Jane said .
Next she served six years on the County Board of Education as well as on the Santa Clara County Grand Jury . She also did an interim run as the economic development director for Gilroy . In 2005 she was recommended by former Chamber of Commerce president , Susan Valenta , for an interim position of 90 days as executive director of the Gilroy Welcome Center .
Her main objective during that time was to evaluate whether the organization was still viable . Jane ’ s first call was to the Central Coast Tourism Council who welcomed Gilroy into their organization . At the end of her evaluation , she told the board , “ There is something here .” The search was then on to find a permanent executive director and Jane threw her hat in the ring . The rest , as they say , is history .
Vic Vanni , chairman of the board of the Gilroy Welcome Center , has always been impressed with Jane ’ s passion for Gilroy .“ Jane leads by serving , she has a servant ’ s heart that demands respect . Giving of her time and energy for the good of our community ,” Vanni said . “ She was instrumental in the Gilroy wayfinding sign program and the creation of the Tourism Business Improvement District ( TBID ), which generates advertising revenue from overnight hotel stays in Gilroy . She knows and understands her job , she is forthright , and never has a hidden agenda .”
zation that oversees California Welcome Centers , and when you are part of that , that ’ s huge in terms of international and domestic recognition ,” Jane said , adding there are currently only 21 California Welcome Centers throughout the entire state .
“ For me , it ’ s about Gilroy getting the respect it deserves as a destination ,” Jane said .
She ’ s equally proud of her recent collaboration with Turner on the Economic Development partnership . “ Mark and I led that whole collaboration , to get the Sharks going , the Gilroy Gardens 536 , and Gourmet Alley ,” Jane said . Their hard work paid off . In March they received confirmation from the City of Gilroy of a 3.9-million-dollar grant to go towards downtown Gilroy , including the Gourmet Alley project . “ We are so excited about this first win for Gilroy ,” Jane said .
As her retirement draws near , Jane embraces the new goals and challenges that lie ahead . “ I believe we have purpose until we take our last breath , and I want to validate that in some way . It ’ s about connecting and relationships , and that comes naturally to me . There ’ s something there that will be my next calling and purpose ,” Jane said .
“ For whatever that next chapter is for her , that goal of fulfilling God ’ s purpose in her life will always be present in her life ,” Turner added .
“ If I can say Gilroy ’ s doing what Gilroy can do for visitors , and if there is some component that I ’ ve added , then I ’ m happy about that ,” Jane said .
Reflecting on her past accomplishments , the Welcome Center ’ s designation to a California Welcome Center is a standout moment for Jane . “ Visit California is the umbrella organi-
OPPOSITE PAGE , ABOVE RIGHT : Jane enjoys an evening of celebration with team members , friends , collegues , and fellow community leaders gathered in her honor at Gilroy Gardens in late June . LEFT AND RIGHT : Jane has dedicated her time in Gilroy - over 40 years - to making the community better . Her legacy of leadership , collaboration , advocacy , and empowerment of others makes her the perfect ambassador for the " Garlic Capital ." Always joyful , enthusiastic and positive , we will miss Jane and wish her the very best !
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