Estero Bay News Moving Forward Series

Moving Forward: Lynsey Hansen – Finding Her Networking Niche

Judy SalamachaApr 8, 2021

Kasey Watson, Lynsey Hansen and Jody Hollier when Lynsey was working at Garden House of Morro Bay.
Photo courtesy of Lynsey Hansen

Before most of her friends and clients suspected a worldwide pandemic would impact their lives and businesses, Lynsey Hansen, the recently appointed membership director for the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce, knew something was about to happen.
“Mom warned me about a month ahead that COVID-19 was coming.” “Mom” is Linda Hansen, who owns Global Directions Travel based in Grover Beach and her worldview business insight was, indeed, global. “She said other countries were beginning to shut down and I better start saving my money because it was going to hit us and be around awhile.”
It didn’t take long. Lynsey belongs to a book group that had been meeting for Sunday brunches. As they said goodbye after their March 2020 gathering, she recalled saying, “This might be the last brunch for awhile.” Two days later the Governor mandated the lock-down.
Although Lynsey had been a licensed massage therapist for several years, it was late 2018 before she took the leap to officially establish her solely owned business in Morro Bay at 645 Main Street, Suite F. She had attended Lucia Mar Massage School, then certified at the California Holistic Institute of San Luis Obispo. But for her first seven years she saw clients at leased space with another therapist and bookings from her mobile business as she continued to take more courses to hone her skills. Once she opened her own space, she instantly joined and became actively involved in the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce. Her guerrilla marketing strategy focused on networking. She joined the Ambassador Committee, attended all the mixers and helped out with Chamber fundraisers. Her strategy worked.
She said, “2019 was my biggest year. I felt I had come into my own with three-quarters of my time slots filled regularly. I was excited and knew 2020 was going to be even better.”
However, her industry was one that had to shutter. “Mom knew it was going to be long-term. I spent a couple weeks feeling melancholy. I tried to apply for unemployment, but being self-employed I was denied. I applied at Albertson’s and some other places, but wasn’t hired. Then I ran into someone I knew in a parking lot. She was recovering from surgery, and when I asked how she was doing, she said she needed help.”
This serendipitous meeting triggered help for a different type of client and opened a door for what Lynsey needed to get her through some tough times. “She hired me for some personal care support and when I told one of my friends, Jody Hollier, I had found a little something for work, she said they needed help at Garden House of Morro Bay where she was assistant administrator. It was part-time doing some weekend cleaning, shopping, and general socializing with the residence. I applied and the owner Kasey Watson offered me a position. Putting puzzles together with the residents was my favorite of many duties.”
Lynsey was able to pay the rent to keep her office and ride out the time her business was closed until summer when she was able to take in massage clients again. “I love my massage job,” she said, “but I also learned I might need to think about alternatives if this happens again or something else happens, and I can’t earn a living.”
Massage therapy as a career was actually not on her radar when Lynsey moved to Yosemite after growing up and attending schools in Los Osos and Morro Bay. “I was 22 and had lived in Yosemite a couple years trying to find myself without a lot of vision.” She admits Mom is her biggest fan and best friend, but ultimately her Mom-advice was to get her life together. “She said I either needed to find a real job or she was signing me up for Cuesta College.”
Lynsey had to smile as she added, “Living back home again and going to college without a clue what to major in was not what I wanted to do. I wanted a real job that didn’t feel like a real job and something where I didn’t have to wear shoes.”
She knew Yosemite friends who were massage therapists. Their lifestyle seemed to fit her criteria for a career. “I chose Lucia Mar Massage School because graduation day was on my birthday. It is a real job, but it is also work I found out I’m good at. And I don’t have to wear shoes while I’m doing it.”
During COVID-19 she missed her friends and networking opportunities at the Chamber. “One day I was having lunch with Erica Crawford (Chamber CEO) and she said a part time position for membership director was opening. She thought I had the skills to do the job and being local and owning my business could be helpful when talking about membership. I didn’t want to close my business, but needed the extra income so part-time seemed a good opportunity.”
Since November 2020, Lynsey has been working her way through the list of Morro Bay business visitations, renewing memberships. Next she’ll be inviting new members who she is sure will appreciate the services offered.
“I always wondered if there was a job out there that was fulltime networking and talking about our businesses. That’s what I now do. I’ve learned firsthand the challenges of being a small business, but I also know the Chamber helped me grow my business when I needed it. I’m excited I’ve been invited to be a cheerleader for our local businesses.”

Time for Change Again- Commentary Today Based on Stepping Up Column in 2006-7 in The Bay News…

Editor’s Back-Story: For a brief time — 2006-07 — it appears, Heather Osgood, then publisher of The Bay News invited me to serve as publisher. It was then owned by the Colhouer family. Heather and Lani Colhouer had developed a partnership to produce what has grown to be the highly successful Inspired Home & Health Expos at Madonna Plaza and the Paso Robles Event Center in 2019. Obviously their budding ownership was taking off and Heather needed to focus elsewhere.

It meant I needed to give up reporting to take on the duties of the publisher — mainly find a productive sales rep to fund the product or do it myself, manage the staff of three, and produce a weekly paper even if it meant staying well into the night to send to the printer. I had great support from the family, but it meant giving up regular reporting which I loved.

However, periodically, I found time to write a community commentary, which in hindsight it was one of the community pieces published at just the right time that was the catalyst for an offer to write my By the Bay column in the SLO Tribune literally the day we closed the Morro Bay office since Bret and Lani Colhouer merged to create Tolosa Press. But that’s another story for another time.

Now in 2019-20 as the current Morro Bay City Council work on current goal setting with new council members led by Mayor John Headding and a fairly new city manager in place, Scott Collins, Additionally, the Chamber of Commerce has established a Governmental Review Committee (GRC) and is working side-by-side with the Tourism representatives.

And City Tourism has assumed production leadership of the Citywide Yard Sale realizing its attraction for a broader network of visitors. And both the Morro Bay Rotary Club and the Community radio station The Rock have created Saturday night events for community and visitors to attend after the Yard Sale neighbors have closed for the evening. April 4-6 is the Yard Sale at NO COST to the vendors to be on the map; Rotary’s 2nd annual crab feed is at the Community Center and The Rock’s Jam Concert is at the Veteran’s Hall.

I thought this flashback timely. Do things really change? I don’t believe positive change happens unless leadership, business and community members seek to work together. It happened briefly in 2006. I’m looking forward to seeing more sustainable fruits of collaboration happening again.

From The Bay News — 2006

Your Community – Stepping-Up  by Judy Salamacha, Publisher

Times, they are a-changing. While most of the changes are subtle they are often significant and noteworthy.

About 18 months ago, four Embarcadero business owners – Ed Biaginni, Stan Trapp, Paul Van Buerden, and Doug Redican – met to discuss what they could do collectively to bring more business to Morro Bay. They discovered the business community’s political strength once they determined their common direction and established a forum to voice concerns and support to elected representatives.

As tourism was currently the only viable industry, supporting events to increase tourism became the common direction.  A loosely structured Business Forum that was open to all began to meet weekly on Thursdays at 9am at Rose’s Landing upstairs. Chamber of Commerce Director Peter Candela was tasked with chairing the forum and offering topical speakers, yet all who attended had a voice, thus it became the methodology to share information and plan strategies.

Speaking out against and suggesting viable solutions with commitments to participate in each other’s event was the action taken. This group would be the last to take credit for the success of event planning in Morro Bay, however, utilizing the Business Forum as a collective body of individuals seeking community success, it is noteworthy that the Harbor Festival recovered from a $40,000 debt with a healthy bank account to plan 2007.

What the group should take credit for is creating a partnership between business and city leadership to implement a vision for a healthier economy through successfully planned and executed events.

And although the Morro Bay Kite Festival was the brightest star so far in 2007 for events held by the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce, Peter Candela recognized a critical changing community attitude at the Jazz Festival. Not only did the business community and the city support the concept and risks of consuming major public parking on the Embarcadero for a temporary festival staging area, but for the first time Peter saw more than the regular Chamber volunteers at the event.  Community members, city staff and elected officials were there not just attending an event for their own entertainment, but working the event to make it a success.

And if you missed the first edition of the season of Morro Bay Art Association’s Art In the Park, note it was bigger and better this year, but also recognize that again the city staff, elected officials, business supporter and the artists community collaborated with Morro Bay Beautiful to transform ten non-descript trash cans into beautiful works of art and recommend to our visitors they visit all the sites from Main Street to Morro Bay Blvd. to Tidelands Park to Market Street. When was the last time an event collaborated to have visitors visit all parts of the Morro Bay?  Oh!  The Morro Bay City-wide Garage Sale!

And when the Morro Bay Fire Department indicated they needed the community to step-up if we were interested in getting 40 teams and families from all over California to come for a fireman’s muster, a community committee joined forces to allow this event to return to Morro Bay after a hiatus of 20 years.

Times are subtly changing in Morro Bay through the coming together of community members collectively interested and willing to give their time, expertise, and even expendable dollars to build a new economy for the city. Each event has its own culture of community leadership to spark the idea, promote the benefits, reach out for sponsorship and welcome volunteer help.  Yet each time people cross-over to get involved beyond their specific interest area, it has allowed new community friendships and understanding.

If there is a day for community bonding and family fun, it has to be 4th of July.  For years the Chambers of Commerce in both Morro Bay and Cayucos have created an All-American family friendly day. There is music and games and sandcastles and parades and picnics and pancake breakfasts and barbecues all capped by a wonderful Fireworks display.  Yes, they have become tourist-driven community events, however, what Morro Bay has discovered in the last 18 months at the Business Forum is the real secret to making successful community events is not always the slick, well organized activities, it is the “feel-good time” for the visitor realizing they are in a special community where so many smiling residents work together and play together to host guests from afar.

Why not give your Chamber a call today and join the 4th of July family fun in your community. They need you and a successful community needs more smiling people to welcome and host our visitors so they continue to vacation here for the health and wealth of our economies.