Archive for the ‘Leadership Academy’ Category

#AuroraChamber News for Members

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

The Aurora Regional Chamber is proud to announce two beneficial programs for member manufacturers.

Aurora Chamber

  In This Issue  

Leadership Academy »
Two Programs to Support Youth »
College & Career Fair »
Board Nominations Sought »
Public Policy Updates »
Premier Investors »
Welcome New Members »
Elite Members »
Calendar of Events »
Member News »
Did You Know? »
Spotlight On Membership »
About The Aurora Chamber »


Leadership Academy

Applications are now available for the 2019 Aurora Chamber Leadership Academy that begins on Friday, March 1.To read prior participants’ experiences in the program, visit our blog.


The Aurora Regional Chamber is proud to announce two beneficial programs for member manufacturers. The partnership with Business Career Services will launch the next series of Manufacturing Careers Internship Program. Manufacturers are needed to offer site tours to participants. In addition, manufacturers are invited to offer eight-week internships for the youth between 18 and 24 years of age. There is no obligation for the manufacturer to hire the intern. BCS is the employer of record and handles the wages, insurance, and drug screening.A second program to launch is the Kane County MCIP Second Chance Program. The program is designed to help young adults ages between 18 and 24 convicted of non-violent crimes, such as DUI or driving without a license, overcome the barrier of having a criminal record and re-enter society through starting careers in the manufacturing industry. Again, there is no cost obligation for the manufacturer during the eight-week internship. BCS covers wages and liability insurance.

For details, check our website through the links above.


West Aurora is organizing a College & Career Fair for area high school students in Kane, DuPage, and Kendall counties on Friday, March 1, 2019, from 8 to 11 a.m. If you are interested in participating, information may be found at

Board Nominations Sought

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for members willing to be considered to serve on the Board of Directors. All eligible nominees will be considered by the Nominating Committee. Nominations may be found online. Forms should be returned by Friday, March 29, at 12:00 p.m.A Board of Directors governs the business, property, and affairs of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Board is responsible for establishing policy, budgets, and the guidance of affairs. The Board is composed of up to 22 persons who shall be members in good standing of the Chamber. Directors are elected for a term of three years which are staggered so that approximately one-third of the directors are elected each year. Vacancies in the board shall be filled by a majority vote of the remaining directors.

To be considered to be a Director, nominees must be members in good standing.

Public Policy Updates

Recently, the Chamber Foundation joined our partners in releasing a report that showed Illinois has had significantly weaker growth in data center markets than surrounding states that have data center incentives.Today, 30 states have incentives specifically targeted at attracting data centers as part of expanded economic development efforts. Since 2012, 24 states have enacted legislation aimed at capturing a greater percentage of data center growth.
Other Recent Policy NewsMinimum Wage Bill Passes Senate Along Party Lines »
$15 Minimum Wage Passes Senate »
Illinois Pushes Toward $15 Minimum Wage »
AuroraChamber Joins Ill. Chamber, Others in Release of Data Centers Study »
Leader Durkin, House Republicans Introduce Fair Maps Amendment »

Premier Investors

Premier Investors

Welcome New Members

Ochoa & Associates LTD. (Elite Member)
Santos and Ilsia Ochoa
835 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora
(630) 473-0325
Accounting & Tax ServicesArtesan Lofts (Premier Member)
Jessie Schnell
2 S Stolp Ave., Aurora
(630) 966-0602
Apartments & Condominiums / Art Galleries

Orchard Wine & Liquor (Premier Member)
Romi Singh
1039 W. Orchard Road, North Aurora
(630) 907-7130
Liquor Store

SciTech Hands on Museum
Arlene Hawks
18 W. Benton, Aurora
(630) 859-3434

Holistic Healthcare Management, Inc.
Stephanie Mack
(630) 631-2998
Wellness Programs

Gary Brown Art
Susan Brown
7 S Broadway, Aurora
Art Galleries

Elite Members

 95.9 The River      Aaron’s      Above Board Indoor Environmental      Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.      Artesan Lofts      Aurora Bank & Trust      Aurora Collective      Aurora University      Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston      Barbara Geiger – Keller Williams Experience      Beans Greens Proteins      Caterpillar, Inc.      City Segment      ComEd      Company 251      Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics      Country Financial – West Aurora      Dolan & Murphy      Endiro Coffee      Energy Bot      ERC Delivery      First Secure Community Bank      Fox Valley Mall      Freedom Development Group, LLC      Gateway Mortgage Group      Healthcare Solutions Team – Deepti Srivastava      Henkels & McCoy, Inc.      Jiffy Lube Multi-Care      Kluber Architects + Engineers       Konen Insurance Agency, Inc.      Luke Singh – Country Financial      Magnetrol International, Inc.      MedCom Group      Midwest Coach Limousine, Inc.      Mitutoyo America Corporation      Mooney & Thomas P.C.       New York Life Insurance Company and Nylife Securities, LLC- Duckie Huynh      Obregon Medical Clinic      Ochoa & Associates LTD.      Old Second National Bank      OnLight Aurora      Orchard Wine & Liquor      Painters District Council 30      Paramount Arts Centre      Pilmer Real Estate      Plum Landing Retirement Community      Prairie Technology Solutions Group, LLC      Presence Mercy Medical Center      Quality Logo Products      R.C. Wegman Construction Company      Rasmussen College      Rich Harvest Farms      Rush Copley Medical Center      S&S Metal Recyclers II      Scientel Solutions      ServPro of Aurora      Sign*A*Rama      SmithAmundsen, LLC      Staffing Network, LLC & QPA       Staffmark      Stonebridge Country Club      T-Mobile     Tempur-Pedic Stores      Thoughtwave Software & Solutions      Two Brothers Roundhouse      Valley Fastener Group, LLC      VivirMED, LLC      The Voice      Waubonsee Community College      Weldstar Company      WSPY      Woodforest National Bank      World Finance Corporation 

Calendar of Events

Grand Opening: Randall Crossings Townhomes
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
1279 Comiskey Ave., North Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 11:30 a.m.Grand Opening: Burger King
Thursday, Feb. 14, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
1378 Butterfield Rd., Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 9:30 a.m.

Leadership Academy
Applications Due
Begins Friday, March 1, at 8:30 a.m.
Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce
43 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora

State of the City Address
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Reception @ 4 p.m.
Mayor’s Address @ 6 p.m.
Sponsorships Available

State of the Village Address
Wednesday, April 10, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Oak Street Restaurant
945 Oak St. North. Aurora
Sponsorships Available

Member News

Aurora Young Professionals, You’re Invited to Volunteer!Sign up for Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry.
Sign up for Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry.
US DOL Opens Applications for HIRE Vets Medallion »
State of the City Set for March 5 »
Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry Establishes Evening Food Distribution »
Food Pantry Names New Exec »
2-1-1 Info Hotline Now Available in Kane »

Did You Know?

Last fiscal year, the #AuroraChamber website saw more than four million hits from nearly 350,000 visitors. One of the most popular destinations was the Member Directory with nearly 275,000 hits – an average of nearly 400 hits per member. Is your directory listing up to date? If you see something that needs to be changed or added, contact Reba Osborne, director of membership, for assistance.


The #AuroraChamber has a number of videos online to assist you in using your member profile to your advantage. Current videos include:How to Pay Invoices Online
How to Post a Hot Deal
How to Add a Job Posting
How to Update Your Personal Profile
How to Update Your Company Profile
How to Manage and Post Events

About The Aurora Chamber

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is a private, not-for-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of more than 700 members representing nearly 40,000 employees. Our mission is be the catalyst for business success by providing leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for our members.Not a Chamber member? Learn more about the benefits of membership.
Already a Chamber member? Make the most of your membership today.

Facebook    Blog    TwitterAurora Regional Chamber of Commerce
43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, IL 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189

#AuroraLeadership Academy Recap

Friday, May 11th, 2018

We are coming up on the last of ten weeks with the 2018 Leadership Academy and I must say it has definitely been worth the while.

From leadership development, social services, cultural diversity, community sustainability, and local government, we have learned much from passionate professionals in these areas.

My biggest takeaway from these sessions has been to have obtainable goals, to be honest with myself, and to listen to others’ needs and desires. These are clues as to how you can help them be successful in their field.

Do not make any preconceived ideas or concepts about anyone. Treat everyone you meet with open arms and a smile; you will no doubt get one in return.

Genuinely listen to what other people have to say, ask questions and comment on the conversation. Be in the habit of doing good deeds for others without expecting anything in return.

Invite them to events and refer them to others that are seeking their type of business. Eventually these good deeds will come back around to you tenfold and remember: People like to do business with people they know and they trust, it’s as simple as that.

A participant in the Aurora Chamber’s 2018 #AuroraLeadership Academy, Michael Latone is a former electrical engineer from Southern Illinois University who has had a long career as an entrepreneur, field engineer for Northrop Grumman, Second City actor, residential real estate broker, and energy consultant. Due to a recent family health issue in 2011, he recently has settled in on the health and wellness industry offering TeleHealth services from 1.800MD. 

Bringing Leadership Awareness to the Masses

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

I can’t express enough how much I’ve enjoyed participating in this year’s Aurora Chamber Leadership Academy. Each week we have been introduced to a new leader and his or her insight on leadership. Through this insight and recent events in the news, I developed this awesome vision! Dr. Adrienne Coleman and Chief Kristen Ziman teaming together to speak to organizations on cultural diversity and being solution-orientated. What a great formula for a successful business culture! This one-day training would be held at the Paramount and companies would bus or fly their employees in to attend…end vision!

Why is it so important to bring this awareness to the masses?

In Dr. Coleman’s session, we were encouraged to engage in uncomfortable conversations about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Putting this into practice, I shared with another Leadership Academy participant something I’d never spoken in public. Subconsciously, I think about being black/African American and try to dispel bias thoughts when interacting with customers. My partner in this discussion shared that in his field of business, he hasn’t had to think about his ethnicity. I believe these two perspectives (our truth) is the case with employees within many organizations. As business owners and leaders, it’s important to have these discussions in the workplace. When we learn to respect other’s perspective… we can give respect away freely! And then we can work together to become a solution-oriented organization.

Chief Ziman discussed how the Aurora Police Department has transitioned into a solution-oriented organization. She expressed you can’t change culture overnight, but it does change ever so slowly. And one of the most powerful tools she’s used in this implementation is respect!

Step 1 to developing a solution-oriented organization starts with attitude! We should “give respect freely, don’t wait for it to be earned.”

Step 2, using critical-thinking skills, break the problem apart to understand it from the root to the surface.

Step 3, employ creativity to surface solutions that break the boundaries of traditional thinking and surface differentiating solutions

Step 4 includes disciplining ourselves to adopt the attitude of a champion, commit to focus and analysis, and leverage our creativity, then act.

I gained more insight on how to develop a solution-oriented organization from

Chief Ziman has done an excellent job of incorporating these steps!

Yolanda Dunn is a participant in the 2018 #AuroraLeadership Academy. She is co-owner with husband Tito Dunn of Leave Me Bee Pest Control, Inc. Leave Me Bee is a full-service pest control company for residential and commercial customers. 

What Service Leadership Means to Me

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

When you hear the word leader, who comes to mind?  If someone asked me that question a few weeks ago, I would say a leader is the head of an organization, politician, or other lead decision maker.  Participating in the Aurora Chamber’s Leadership Academy, however, has broadened my horizons of leadership.  I was especially intrigued the week we discussed service leadership.  We heard from organizations like Rush Copley, VNA, and Strong Prepared and Ready for Kindergarten (SPARK) and I thought to myself….THIS IS WHAT I DO!  During my short time in the workforce, I’ve switched between different types of service leadership roles.  After college, I started working in a library as a children’s services assistant.  This job wasn’t what I was expecting to do with my life, having graduated with my bachelors in Telecommunications: Broadcast News. Although my path diverted, I enjoyed working in a library, as I was able to use some of my journalistic research skills to help library customers locate information. Plus, working with children was fun.  I was able to read silly books, sing songs, and make crafts!  Who could ask for a better job?

Six years later, though, my path diverted again. I found myself moving to Iowa after my husband got a job at a local newspaper as a reporter. I knew I would need to find work in Iowa, but there weren’t many library positions available.  Luckily, there was an opening for a news director at the local radio station. Starting my new job was strange.  I was new to a community I didn’t know and who didn’t know me. The radio station I worked for was also in direct competition with my husband’s newspaper for reporting stories, so there was this strange competitiveness between the two of us. Being the newbie in town with no connections was hard.  However, after showing up continuously at town meetings and events, I was able to start forming connections.  As I got to know people in the community, I started receiving invites to help out with special projects around town.  I was asked to help with the local chamber’s holiday parade, I became a board member of the local arts council and library, and I was invited to speak to a radio/ television class at a local middle school.  I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed these roles.  I felt like I was making a difference by serving the community.

After a year, however, I knew that my heart was in librarianship and my husband and I moved to Aurora.  As a children’s librarian I enjoy serving the community through helping customers locate needed materials, presenting diverse programs for people of all ages, attending school and community events as a library representative, and always striving to provide customers with what they need. Whether I am hosting a storytime where a child learns the basic skills necessary to start attending preschool, or visiting school literacy nights to highlight all the programs and services the library offers, I truly enjoy serving my community.  Being a part of Leadership Academy has not only helped me establish more opportunities for partnerships between the library and area organizations, but it has given me a glimpse of the Aurora community. I am happy to call Aurora home and help serve this community.

Angela Van Vuren is the children’s services manager at the Eola Road Branch of the Aurora Public Library. She has worked in libraries for more than 10 years. She mostly reads children’s books with her favorites being anything by Jan Thomas or Neil Gaiman. She lives in Aurora with her husband Zack and their dog Hammy. Angela is a participant in this year’s #AuroraLeadership Academy program.

Empowering Women in Leadership

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

As women, we face unique challenges as leaders, whether we work in the corporate world or as a business owner. There are many aspects of leadership, but the core question is this: As strong and capable women, how can we lead by example?

I must admit, in my early days of my career as a leader, I had a few great mentors who cared about me enough to confront me all about leadership. As leaders, we need to be able to recognize people who are not performing at their greatest level and provide support and feedback to them.

I do believe that some people are born leaders and some learn throughout life to become better leaders.

One of the best lessons I learned was that it is not about me. When I made the transition from valuing myself to valuing my people, I was transformed as a leader. When we learn to turn our focus from ourselves to others, the whole world opens up to us. When you understand this and take the focus away from you, it will change who you are as a leader.

As a woman in leadership here are a few nuggets to develop a more authentic Leadership Style.

Yes; authenticity matters. It’s easy to play the game and pander to what others expect us to be in the workplace. Women who lead by mimicking men reveal a lack of professional identity. Professional confidence is not gender-based; it’s all about authenticity and developing the qualities that resonate with who you are.

First, look to leaders you admire. Observe their traits, how they interact within a team and work under pressure.

Second, stop putting yourself first. Leadership is an exercise in service. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader. As a woman, it’s a tricky balance because as a figure of authority, you must often be the deciding voice on things. Instead of focusing on your authority, let’s start from a place of service by giving support, training, encouragement, mentorship, and resources to the team and business.

Third, find and refine the balance between personal and professional. Get to know your team and set clear boundaries and expectations. When you’re working, it’s important to perform to get results. Professional behavior and authenticity have to go hand in hand. Often a casual leadership approach, which women gravitate towards, can easily be sabotaged by overly personal behavior.

Other good leadership qualities, you would usually see factors like integrity, effective communication, influence, respect, power, human influence, kindness, vulnerability, listening, and accountability. These are all wonderful qualities of a leader, but I am going to share something I believe has helped me and made me stand out as a leader — putting my people ahead of myself.

Some last tips:

• Acknowledge and appreciate people. Everyone wants to be valued. It is critical as a leader to give your people credit and recognition for the incredible things they do.

• Know your people. Getting to know them in a more personal way will make them feel valued and increase their respect for you as a leader.

• Empower your people. Everyone wants to be trusted to make decisions. Empower your people to make certain decisions.

Deepti (Dee) Srivastava is a health Insurance broker with Healthcare Solutions Team. Her specialty is Medicare for seniors, group health insurance for small to mid-size companies, travel insurance, short-term disability, life insurance, and long-term care. She is a proud mom, daughter, sister, wife, woman entrepreneur, and so much more. Dee is a participant in the 2018 #AuroraLeadership Academy.

Collaborative Leadership

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

This last Friday, I had the privilege of listening to Chief Kristen Ziman speak in front of my Aurora Leadership Academy’s weekly meeting. She not only provided a history of her work as a police officer, she also explained to all of us how she personally evolved as a leader.

She mentioned that even when faced with a situation today, she will lean on the knowledge of her commanders when she is unsure on how to handle a situation that arises. Rather than make a quick and uninformed decision, she will collaborate with other members of her team to ensure that the decision made is in the best interest of everyone involved.

While it’s hard for me to relate to the large-scale decisions Chief Ziman has to make on a daily basis, I can relate to engaging others when making a decision in my professional life.

I am still relatively young in my field when compared to my peers. Because of this, I tend to lean on more experienced co-workers when I have a difficult decision to make. I will start with saying what my gut instinct is, and then listen to their suggestions. Even if I know my initial choice is correct, I will go to them for validation on my thoughts.

By doing this, I am not only making sure I am making the best decision for my company and/or my customer, but I am also furthering my knowledge to better myself in my career.

Will Garcia has delivered commercial banking solutions for over 5 years working with small to mid-size businesses in the Chicagoland area, serving currently as a Commercial Banking Representative at Old Second National Bank. He is a graduate of the University of St. Francis in Joliet and is pursuing a MBA from NIU. He is a participant in the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Leadership Academy program.

A Call to Leadership – Get Involved

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

What a privilege it has been to be a participant in this year’s Aurora Leadership Academy. The past six weeks have been thought provoking, motivational, and inspiring. We have had presentations on a variety of topics, such as social service, equity, diversity, and sustainability, each of which have left me thinking about leadership in a new way. This past week was no exception.

We had the opportunity to meet with the City of Aurora’s Deputy Mayor, Chuck Nelson, who shared with us his wealth of experience as a local government leader. I appreciated his perspective on the meaningful role that local government plays in quality of life. He talked about how our perception of the world is what we see outside our front window. The question that resonated with me most: If the view out your window is not what you would like to see, is there an opportunity to become more informed about what you can do to change it?

Mr. Nelson shared with us how this has been demonstrated in the City of Aurora. Years ago many people were displeased with the high crime rates throughout the city, so residents mobilized within their districts by working with their Alderman to learn what they could do to reduce crime in Aurora. As a result, Neighborhood Watch groups were formed. These groups were established throughout the city’s districts in collaboration with the Mayor’s office and had a significant impact on reducing crime. Mr. Nelson said some of the Neighborhood Watch groups were comprised of hundreds of residents, and many of the groups still meet to this day.

The people in these communities exhibited leadership by deciding to take action rather than idly watch their community continue to be afflicted by the ongoing crime issues. They worked with the leaders of their local government to find out what they could do that could make a difference. We can all answer the call to serve as leaders in our own communities by making the choice to get involved in the issues that our community faces. By getting involved we become more informed and can work together to bring effective change to improve the community we serve.

Claire Johnson is the manager of Planning & Business Development at Rush Copley Medical Center, a 210-bed community hospital in Aurora. She lives in Downers Grove with her husband, Andrew, and their dog, Bear. While she is a resident of Downers Grove, she has thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the community she works in as a participant in the 2018 Leadership Academy presented by the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Workplace Equity over Equality

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Equality is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. Equity the quality of being fair and impartial.

Society is working so hard toward equality, we seem to think equity is simply unfair; we have forgotten that everyone is different and, therefore, requires different opportunities to be successful.

Everyone is born into this world with different economic classes, different backgrounds, personalities, and traits. All of these play a role in the development of each person, making us all different; therefore, we need to treat our employees like unique individuals instead of a group of average people.

We all have probably seen the image that depicts three people trying to watch a baseball game from behind a fence: one tall, one medium, and one small. They are all standing on boxes. Only two out of three of them can see the game while standing on the box. This is equality; it can be tough to understand, but equality can only work if everyone starts from the same place.

Using the example from the baseball game, if everyone was the same height, equality would be perfect and make complete sense. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works; you can see this in the equity or fairness depiction.

Our differences can create barriers to participation. Before we give everyone the same treatment in the workplace, we have to make sure that we are catering towards everyone’s unique strengths and weaknesses in order to make sure everyone has the same opportunity to succeed.

With equality, we are giving everyone the same tools to be successful but only basing it on how the average person works or acts. The similarities between this and equity are pretty evident, but the main difference is that most people aren’t average. Giving them all the same tools sounds like a good idea in the beginning, but it’s tough for some people to use these tools if they simply will not work for that individual.

It’s not about teaching them to be average; it’s about using the unique way that they were built to give each individual a separate, catered treatment that leans more toward their strengths.

Leaders in the workplace, which include anyone who has supervision over someone else, play a very important role in every business. Leaders are mentors. The main part of their job is to do everything in their power to help the people under them grow and learn so that someday they too can be successful in a leadership role. We need equity in the workplace because we need to treat our employees like unique individuals instead of a group of average people.

Brandon Lyon is the president of City Segment, a marketing agency focused on local strategies, and a participant in the 2018 Aurora Chamber Leadership Academy.


A Cohesive Community

Friday, April 6th, 2018

I began working in the travel/hospitality industry back in 1989, accompanying tour groups to exotic places all over the world. After a few years I moved on to the corporate world by planning large annual meetings and sales incentive trips for several major companies that included a bank, trucking manufacturer, and a health care company.

Talk about job security, I thought! Big companies will ALWAYS have the need to travel for meetings and incentive trips! What could possibly stop companies from planning big meetings?

September 11, 2001, is what could happen.

After 9/11, most companies curtailed their business travel, opting instead for conference calling or the newly-growing option of video teleconferencing over having face-to-face meetings. And as the need for corporate travel lessened, so did the need to have planners for those meetings.

It was then that I opted to hop to the other side of the hospitality fence. Instead of calling a convention and visitors bureau to get recommendation on the area where my clients would be meeting, I decided to try my hand at working for a CVB to aid planners from my former career.

The first bureau I worked for was Chicago’s North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau in Skokie, back in the early 2000s, which at the time represented four communities. After a few years I moved on to the Convention and Visitors Bureau in the Elgin area, where I would spend the next 11 years representing fourteen communities. And two years ago I was hired at my third bureau, the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, where I currently represent 10 communities (and one former community).

Three CVBs representing 29 communities in North, Northwest, and Western Chicago suburbs.

That is exposure to a LOT of local government!

In my first few days at the Aurora Bureau, I immediately was impressed by the cohesiveness that existed between several city-championing organizations in Aurora. The Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau shares office space alongside other organizations supporting the community such as the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, Invest Aurora, the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce, Aurora Downtown, Women’s Business Center-Aurora, and OnLight Aurora. All of these groups coexist to support, enhance, and promote area businesses and organizations in the Aurora Area, a partnership the likes of which I’ve never seen before in local government.

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Academy is the perfect example of the type of professional cohesion in Aurora. With a culturally and professionally diverse group, the #AuroraLeadership Academy provides us with the opportunity to visit local businesses and organizations and hear from experts in their respective professional fields, while discussing important and even sensitive topics in business. This gives the members an opportunity to develop professionally while broadening our professional network. In my personal experience, after only four sessions, I have already discussed personal future insurance needs as well as possible pest control treatment for my home.

I applaud the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce for creating and developing this program, and I would highly recommend anyone wanting to expand their professional network…especially a business professional somewhat new to the Aurora area, as I was…to apply for the next academy.

To date, we have enjoyed visits to Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry, and the Aurora Public Library. Upcoming visits include City Hall, the Aurora Police Department, the Fox Valley Park District, Rush Copley Medical Center, and Alarm Detection Systems.

Pete Garlock is a participant in the 2018 Aurora Chamber Leadership Academy. He is the director of sales for the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Aurora Area Sports Alliance, serving the communities of Aurora, Batavia, Big Rock, Hinckley, Montgomery, North Aurora, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, and Yorkville.

A Life in the Shadow of a Leader

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

Since birth, I have been following in the footsteps of a leader. The leader I am referring to is my grandfather. He went from being a mailman and a fireman barely getting by to branching out on his own and starting a real estate company that has been in business for more than 50 years. But that is not why I consider him a leader.

My grandfather is a leader because he does things the right way. He is a smart business man but I don’t think he has ever made a decision without using his heart and considering how each move he makes will affect the other parties involved. He has given so much to others and his community.

The greatest sign of him being a leader is that he raised his sons to be leaders as well. They have taken it upon themselves to help as much as they can in their communities as well. So how does one keep up with the shadows that they have cast upon myself? Now don’t take this as I feel it is an obligation that I have to do things to keep up with them because it is not. To me it is a right to be able to help others and my community and it is because of the leadership of my grandfather that I feel this way.

Until this point I have just helped with organizations that my father and uncle are a part of. The #AuroraLeadership Academy has given me the stepping stones and the courage to go out and find my own path in helping my community. Now it us up to me to start my own shadow.

J.D. Dolan is a Real Estate Broker with Dolan & Murphy Inc. Dolan & Murphy Inc. has been in business for more than 50 years. He has been with the company for about six years now.