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WABA Executive Director Linda Asbury Retires

West Alameda Business Association (WABA) Executive Director Linda Asbury is retiring after seven and a half years. Replacing her is Elissa Glickman, who has over 20 years of nonprofit and leadership experience.

Alameda Post - Webster street
Webster Street. Photo Kelsey Goeres.

WABA is dedicated to supporting and promoting local businesses in the Webster Business District, Alameda Landing, Alameda Point, Ballena Bay, and other West Alameda businesses west of Grand Street, with the purpose of cultivating a community environment. The executive director’s job, according to Asbury, entails keeping the West End safe, well-lit, and inviting.

“My job, what it boils down to, is to get feet on the streets and to be a clear advocate for the West End as it relates to working with the City,” she told the Alameda Post. Asbury said one of the reasons she’s been so passionate about her role is that she considers the West End her home.



“The reason I’m in Alameda is that I followed my grandchildren,” she said. “My daughter and her husband relocated as a family ten years ago. I have two grandchildren, 16 and 19. I’ve never gone more than a couple days being away from them. We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to create a really good family unit. And then I have an older daughter who lives in New York and I go there twice a year to spend time with her. I’m family first.”

When Asbury moved to Alameda ten years ago, she felt drawn to the West End. “I love the vibe of the West End,” she said. “I love to be near the buses, I love to hear the fire engines. I like the activity. That’s why it’s my chosen neighborhood.”

Alameda Post - Alameda Landing
Alameda Landing. Photo Kelsey Goeres.

Asbury came to her position as WABA’s executive director with 37 years of work in the Chamber of Commerce industry under her belt. “So this is what I do,” she said. “It’s what I know. It’s my passion. My motto is, ‘Creating community through business.’”

Since Asbury is so passionate about the work she does, it’s been a tough decision to retire. “This’ll be my third retirement,” she said. “This time it’s gonna stick.”

During her time as executive director, Asbury has watched the West End go through drastic changes, most notably during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When COVID hit in March 2020 we didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “During that time I learned it’s more important to keep the organization alive than fulfilling the mission. Because if I didn’t keep the organization alive, we wouldn’t be open to fulfill our mission. So we took drastic cuts in March 2020, probably cut the budget in half because we didn’t know what was gonna happen. And I kept saying, ‘Our job is to keep the doors open.’”

Today, the West End is back to its lively self. It’s also more at the center of things.

Alameda Post - a large mural
Mural at Webster Street and Pacific Avenue. Photo Adam Gillitt.

“With new development at the Point, Webster is becoming more central,” said Asbury. “So much development and business ventures are happening at the base. So it’s moving in the direction of Webster. It’s no longer the end of the West End, it is geographically becoming more central in the landscape of the island.”

Asbury says her replacement, Elissa Glickman, who moved to Alameda from Glendale, California, during the pandemic, is “exactly what WABA needs.” Glickman comes to WABA with over 25 years in the public and private sector. She is the recipient of multiple awards, including Business Woman of the Year from both the Glendale Chamber of Commerce and the Glendale Latino Business Association, Executive Service Corps Megan G. Cooper Leadership Award, California State Senate Women in Business, and the YWCA Legacy Honoree.

“I understand the importance of business districts, how they serve as advocates for local businesses with regard to safety and infrastructure and marketing and support,” Glickman told the Post. “I love Alameda. I think it’s a great city. And I’m very fond of Webster Street. That’s where I found my community. It’s quite an honor to be here.”

Glickman admires the work Asbury has done on the West End. “I’m so impressed by Linda and her tenacity and desire to make sure that her merchants are taken care of,” she said.

Asbury says the West End is “like an open book” for Glickman. “With Elissa coming on, it’s the perfect time for new ideas,” the retiring executive director said. “I’m leaving behind a great situation for the organization. Her job, and I know she’ll do it, is to take it to the next level.”

Kelsey Goeres is a contributing writer for the Alameda Post. Contact her via [email protected]. Her writing is collected at AlamedaPost.com/Kelsey-Goeres.

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