By IVY WEISS Contributing Reporter On July 24th, the Shrine Auditorium Expo Center was filled with the sounds of over 3,000 people doing business with each other. The 10th Annual L.A.’s Largest Mixer brought together business, Chambers of Commerce, organizations and service clubs and put them all in front of an almost capacity crowd. The San Fernando Valley is always well represented at this event. Chambers from across the Valley have been participating since the first year. The Mixer is the brainchild of Dave Linden, who has seen it grow over the past decade from his simple idea to bring a wide array of businesses together, to the huge success it is today. It has outgrown five venues. Sponsor’s of this year’s event included the Canoga Park/West Hills, Great San Fernando Valley, Sherman Oaks and Universal City-North Hollywood Chambers of Commerce, the Regional Black Chamber of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley, the United Chambers of Commerce, VEDC, and VICA comprising a quarter of the sponsor list. Valley Chambers and business organizations have been with the event from year one and the same Chambers return year after year for this opportunity to meet new members. Nora Ross, Executive Director of the Canoga Park/West Hills Chamber has participated since she became associated with the Chamber. “The Mixer is enjoyable, and more importantly it is an opportunity to meet a lot of people, many of whom do business in our area. The contacts we make are amazing and I look forward to doing this again next year and the years after that.” Fifty of the more than 200 exhibitors were Valley businesses as well. There are so many exhibitors that the organizers are seeing the event as more of a Trade Show than business mixer. This year the Valley’s strength was represented in a room that featured businesses from a geographic area that ranges not only through the Los Angeles County area, but also as far away as Phoenix and Mammoth. Linden credits the Valley participants with a lot of the success over the years. In L.A.’s Largest Mixer’s third year, Judy Kessler Block, a prior CEO of the Encino Chamber brought KABC radio to the event, and that relationship has continued throughout the years. “Our relationship with KABC is what the event is all about networking,” Linden stated. KABC is now also involved with Orange County’s Largest Mixer which is also produced by Linden’s company. In a time of economic challenges, L.A.’s Largest Mixer is maintaining its strength. Exhibitor and visitor attendance has not wavered from last year, while many other businesses are seeing drops in revenue. The event has so grown in scope, that what Linden and a few volunteers used to do now takes a staff of 63 on the day of the event. “The event is about business from all over L.A. County coming together to make contacts and bring economic growth to their communities. I find it heartwarming when I get calls after the event from happy exhibitors telling me ‘It worked,'” Linden offered. He continued, “When you name something L.A.’s Largest you have to produce the numbers, and that is a daunting task. This is a collaborative effort from the first days of planning each year. It is the businesses and non-profit organizations who make this a success. And our Valley connections never fail us.” North Valley Regional Clusters Aid Referrals The North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce (NVRCC) offers an way for member businesses to network and grow through referrals Clusters. Five clusters meet each week at various times during the day, usually in the morning and at lunchtime. Meals are served at each cluster meeting. What is a cluster? A cluster is a group of chamber members who meet weekly to talk about their businesses, what kind of referrals they are looking for, and simply get to know one another well enough on a personal and professional level to be able to refer business to each other. Cluster members have received hundreds of referrals, and sales, solely from the cluster meetings. To avoid competition within the cluster, only one person per profession is allowed to join each cluster. A person can visit cluster meetings twice before joining the Chamber. Several business categories are currently available. For more information, please contact the Chamber office at (818) 349-5676 or go to nvrcc.com.