by Donnelly Gillen, Hanson Bridgett

California is a relatively young chapter in COAA that spent the latter part of 2019 and 2020 rebuilding.  La Jolla conferences played a central role in both the chapter’s birth in 2013 and rebirth in 2019.  In 2013, a group of Associate members interested in bringing COAA to California worked with COAA staff to recruit potential members and invited them to meet at the COAA fall conference in La Jolla.  After that conference, additional members were recruited, the California chapter was officially formed, and it held its first meeting in March 2014. The chapter went on to thrive for years with a strong leadership and well-attend meetings up and down the coast.  Unfortunately, in 2018 and 2019, multiple chapter leaders either left the state or became too consumed with work to run the chapter and the chapter lost its momentum.  In 2019, two potential Associate members and a potential Owner member attended the La Jolla conference and – as Executive Director Howie Ferguson likes to say – “drank the Kool-Aid.”  These three, with the assistance of Howie and Manager of Administration and Operations, Lucie Castro, worked to recruit more California-based COAA enthusiasts.  With a core group of committed volunteers, the chapter hosted its first event virtually in July 2020.  The chapter looks forward to hosting in-person events throughout the State once it is safe to do so in the face of COVID-19.  Until then, volunteers will continue to work with COAA staff to produce useful content, recruit additional members, and share The COAA Way.