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Local GSDBA member part of White House job summit

(SAN DIEGO) College Area resident Christianna Connell was among 130 attendees from the nation’s business community invited to offer solutions for job growth at a Dec. 3 White House job summit, headed by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Other invited attendees included Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Disney CEO Bob Iger.

Connell, who heads up future-ink, a small web design and internet marketing firm based in Mission Hills, was selected to attend the summit through a lead she received due to her membership with the Greater San Diego Business Association (GSDBA), the second largest gay and lesbian supportive chamber in the country.

Connell was informed that the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in Washington was looking for businesses that had experienced economic growth in the past six months. Having enjoyed a 27 percent increase in revenues this year, Connell’s application to attend the summit was accepted.

The five-hour event, held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House compound, included mayors, CEOs and entrepreneurs from throughout the country. Connell was the only attendee from San Diego.

“The sector I represented was that of small business,” said Connell. “In an economy where roughly half of the private Gross Domestic Product and about two-thirds of new jobs are created by small business, we have a lot to say about how the economy, taxes, export/import, and healthcare will affect our success and overall ability to hire future employees.”

Both President Obama and Vice President Biden spoke at the summit and Obama took comments and questions from the attendees, who were also split into “breakout” groups to offer their opinions on ways to stimulate the job market. Connell’s subgroup was headed by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke along with Christina Romer, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, which provides the President with timely economic analyses.

In addition to expressing her dismay over rising health care premiums, Connell offered her support of the jobs tax credit. “It doesn’t just address businesses that are foundering, but it will help businesses that are doing well to hire more people,” she said, adding that the leaders at the summit displayed genuine eagerness to get good input from people running businesses.

“It gave me a lot of hope that the policies that come out of the summit will be helpful to all small businesses and job growth.”