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Bairos Takes The Reins As New Chamber CEO
Bairos CEO 3-29
Newly appointed Oakdale Chamber of Commerce CEO and Oakdale native, Cher Bairos. Teresa Hammond/The Leader

Some might say Cher Bairos’s energy could light up the Las Vegas Strip at night. For those who have yet to meet the Oakdale native and Cowboy Capital dynamo, that description would not be far off.

With a number of nonprofit start-ups under her belt, tenure as Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, as well as previous board member and currently City of Oakdale Mayor, Bairos is putting on a new hat, as CEO of the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m loving it. I’ve had this grin, this renewed energy, I can’t even explain it,” Bairos said earlier this month, following the announcement of her new position with the Chamber.

Well-known as an agent with Basi Insurance, Bairos shared she will maintain her commitment to her clients and the business; it will just “look a little different.” As a commission-only agent, she said it allows her flexibility to give her time fully to the Chamber in the day in and day out business.

The longtime agent shared for close to a year she’d been considering doing something different. Unsure of what that might be, she began pondering over ideas with her wife Jeanine and close circle of friends. Learning of a potential position coming up at the Chamber, sparked her interest. When she learned the opening was for that of the CEO position, her posse encouraged her to pursue it.

As Bairos shared the steps which ensued, her care and compassion for not just the community but those she serves becomes apparent, emphasizing her continued dedication to her clients, as well as the seriousness and dedication with which she’s approached the new CEO position.

“I have a lot to do here,” she stated by way of learning and rolling up her sleeves with the Chamber, adding her joy of being out in the community and often highlighting businesses and events; yet this will be different. “This is the guts of it … there’s a lot to review and go over.”

Hard work, however, isn’t something Bairos shies away from. Raised on her family ranch, early mornings turned to late nights are her norm. The newly appointed CEO shared a morning up at 4 a.m. and the day finally ending around 11 p.m. is not unusual. Driven by her passion for all things Oakdale, as well as her love from her family and friends, Bairos has few – if any – complaints.

Graduating from Oakdale High in 1992, Bairos began to share her work ethic with the community early. From the age of 16 to 26 she operated a women’s only gym Totally Fit with her mother Charlyn Bairos. Eventually the dynamic duo had a two-story building complex constructed on East F Street and relocated the business from its original location on River Road. Bairos shared she grew the business at that time and opened a co-ed gym next door, Totally Fit Two.

“It’s in my blood, this is who I am,” she said of her work ethic and commitment to excellence.

“No one could ever imagine me behind a desk,” she shared, acknowledging her uncontainable energy, “but I’m telling you; this is amazing. This is amazing.”

Looking to the year ahead and her goals for the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, Bairos gives immediate kudos to the current face of the chamber, Bri Swan, praising her as instrumental in making so much happen in the community since joining the Chamber in October Together, Bairos has a goal for the duo to bring the Oakdale Chamber back to the center focus of the community as it once was.

“We have a lot of great ideas,” she said of herself, Swan as well as the board, acknowledging that though some momentum may have slipped during the pandemic years, the team feels a revived energy and need for reconnecting coming out of it and being all in once again in the community.

“The next few months are going to be very dedicated,” the new CEO stated.

Of the many things up and coming, one which is most pivotal was the recent announcement that the Chamber will be re-looking at the annual Chocolate Festival, as well as the date in which it will be hosted. An idea which was first prompted earlier in the year by the board and is now one which Bairos and Swan will take on.

“I am so proud and honored just to represent the Chamber and the community as a whole,” Bairos said of her new role as CEO. “We’re not here to put on events, it’s a piece and what I love to do, but it’s so much more than that.

“It’s almost like my own special purpose,” she said of serving the community. “It’s like when you’re going somewhere and you can’t sleep because you’re so excited, that’s what it’s like right now. I’ve never been happier.”