Kevin Hernandez is director of events and sponsorship at the Roseville Area Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Rahul Lal)

Getting to Know: Kevin Hernandez

Roseville chamber director of events and sponsorship aims to create connections for professionals

Back Web Only Jun 24, 2020 By Vanessa Labi

Kevin Hernandez is a people person. His enthusiasm, extroversion and passion for creating connections among people is palpable through the television screen where, for seven years, he has appeared on “Good Day Sacramento.

Previously, as a booker and reporter for the news program, Hernandez would cover local businesses and community happenings (he continues to work for the program as a freelancer). Viewers have been treated to his friendly introductions of topics as eccentric as the ice sport of curling and as accessible as coffee shop openings. His warm disposition allows him to both awaken firefighters from their slumber on-camera and cover joyful occasions such as a Sacramento Quinceañera Expo trade show. 

In 2017, he turned in his full-time crack-of-dawn days at the news station for more traditional hours at the Roseville Area Chamber of Commerce as its director of events and sponsorship. The role allows him to be more invested and involved in the community in which he lives, and the normal hours are “a big perk as well,” he says. At the chamber, he unites business owners in the area through networking events — like happy hours and power lunches — and plans educational series where entrepreneurs can learn ways to strengthen their business strategy through topics such as trends in marketing and crisis management. 

As a self-proclaimed extrovert, Hernandez has been adjusting to life with limited social interactions and is determined to create real connections for Roseville professionals through virtual events.

My role at the Roseville Area Chamber of Commerce: My primary role is to plan and coordinate and promote any chamber events that we have. I’m also working year-round to establish new events and keeping up with current trends in business, and really in the world, and always looking to see what new networking opportunities I can bring to our community. The chamber is a membership-based organization, but we open all events to nonmembers as well. Anybody that really wants to network with the chamber or even just like-minded business owners, people looking for a job. Everyone is welcome.

What I love about planning events: I was a booker for many years for “Good Day Sacramento,” and I do a little freelance reporting for them now. It’s interesting how working in television really prepared me for this role. I’m such an extrovert, so I really thrive off of people’s positive energy. I love throwing events just like I loved booking segments on “Good Day Sacramento.”

To have an idea and then see it implemented and see it go positively, or see it bring people together or make somebody happy or help businesses, that really is like the biggest reward for me. Getting to see something so small implemented into something much bigger. And you know, people have often asked me, “Do you ever get bored planning the same events?” And it’s like, really, I don’t, because I feel like it’s not really the event itself. It’s the people (who) come that make it worthwhile, and make it really fun, and make it feel rewarding because you always get such great energy and spirit from these people. 

How I got my start at “Good Day Sacramento”: I was going to (Sacramento) State, and I was an intern at “Good Day Sacramento.” Right out of my internship, they actually asked me to stay on as a production assistant. I always tell people, if you can work in a newsroom, you can work anywhere. Because a newsroom is a very fast-paced, high-pressure environment, and things are constantly changing, and you kind of just have to adapt to the changes right then and there.

My favorite kind of news segment: I have covered so many amazing stories but my favorite ones are always the stories that pull at your heart strings. During the Christmas season, the Sweet Dreams Foundation partnered with Home Depot and did a complete bedroom makeover for a 4-year-old boy named Malakai who was battling cancer. He was so excited when we did the room reveal live on air and it was so touching to be a part of it. It’s stories like these that really put things in perspective and make you realize that little things we get so angry about sometimes aren’t that big of deal.

Hernandez featured Malakai, a 4-year-old battling cancer who received a bedroom makeover through the Sweet Dreams Foundation, in a “Good Day Sacramento” segment. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Hernandez)

How my reporting and news production experience prepared me for event planning: You’ve got to be quick on your feet. … It’s the same thing with throwing events. You throw an event, and you have it in your head that it’s going to look this way. And then it completely changes in like a single second because, you know, the ice truck doesn’t show up, or somebody in the band is sick, and all of a sudden, the band is down a person when they should be a three-piece band. So you have to be able to be quick on your feet, not panic, go with the flow and just tell yourself it’s all gonna work out.

How I helped shape the climate for business owners in Roseville during COVID-19: Initially, I had a calendar of events lined up for the year. So you go from having all these in-person events to what seems like none overnight. … I look at the silver lining, which is that it really forced me to get creative and figure out new ways to bring people together, how to make them virtual. 

Zoom became my best friend. … People were having a really hard time, and things were really kind of dire, you know, especially when (the pandemic) first started, and people were unsure of what was going to happen. … We could bring events, even if it was just a virtual happy hour, telling people, “Hey, you’re at home, make your own drink, and join us on Zoom. And let’s just talk about what you’re doing to stay afloat with your business.”

On the joy of a drive-by parade: One of the things I had come up with is a drive-by parade, which became a thing during this whole pandemic. At a staff meeting one day, I said, “Why don’t we do drive-by parades for our businesses in Roseville? Let’s drive by our members’ businesses. Let’s get our city council members involved, let’s get chamber staff involved. Let’s decorate our cars and drive by our businesses that have been open during the pandemic and show that we support them.” So we do these every Friday now at 10 a.m. It turned into a really fun thing to do. 

Joann Caetano, owner of Primerica Financial, rides down Vernon Street as part of the Roseville “We’re Open” Parade. (Photo courtesy of Emily Hoffman/Roseville Area Chamber of Commerce)

Where I get my people-person quality: I come from a long line of big personalities in my family, but my mom is definitely someone who has never met a stranger. She has always been super friendly and outgoing and loves talking to people, which I do as well.

What I’ve been binge-watching during quarantine: I’m super late in the game, but I’m currently binge-watching and almost done with “Game of Thrones.” … So far in season six, I’m not really liking Jon Snow. … Khaleesi is kind of on my list; I’m not really digging her this season. But there’s a couple of characters that I feel like have been redeeming themselves. I didn’t like Sansa for the longest time, but I’m starting to like her this season. … Tyrion has been my favorite character since the very beginning. 

Things I would never get rid of in a Marie Kondo-like purge: I’m a huge “Star Wars” fan, so I would never get rid of any of my “Star Wars” stuff. I’m that millennial that’s kind of old-school, because I know everything is on digital and streaming services now, but there’s like a handful of DVDs and Blu-rays that I would just never get rid of. … All my Quentin Tarantino movies, my “Lords of Dogtown” DVD, my “Dazed and Confused” Blu-ray.

My favorite way to experience the Roseville area: I love getting together with friends for coffee at Fourscore Coffee House and sitting outside at places like Legends at Woodcreek Golf Course and enjoying the view. I also love places like Monk’s Cellar and Wise Villa Winery.  We have some awesome eateries, breweries and wineries in Placer County that are always fun to go to and each one has its own unique environment that is so fun.

Comments

Dottie Visker (not verified)June 26, 2020 - 7:02am

Congratulations to Kevin! You def a super outgoing and pleasant person. I remember you from 2016 when I did my large Art at Work show at the Roseville Chamber of Commerce. You were always very friendly/helpful/professional. Made me feel very welcomed.

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