Historical Society Fundraiser Invite

April 13th, 2019

The spring fundraiser for the Aurora Historical Society will be a tribute to 170th anniversary of the Burlington Railroad in Aurora.  There will be drinks, a buffet supper and a showing of a classic train film at Two Brothers Roundhouse,  205 North  Broadway, Aurora 60505.  Executive Director John Jaros will speak about Aurora’s railroad history and the Burlington.

The film is the 1934 classic “Silver Streak” with stars of the day Charles Starrett, Sally Blane, and William Farnum.  Although an actor portrayed the engineer in the movie,  driving the train for the movie was Aurora’s own Jack Ford.

“The Burlington  wouldn’t let anybody else touch those controls,” according to Jaros.  And with good reason.  Ford was the engineer who set a new record for non-stop speed and distance with his legendary 13-hour run from Denver to Chicago on May 26, 1934.

“The Zephyr was the rock star of the railroading world in the 1930s,” said historical society President Mary Clark Ormond.  “Suddenly, bursting from the Industrial Age world of the steam-driven Iron Horse,  came this sleek steel beauty of the Jazz Age.  People couldn’t get enough of it.  No wonder Hollywood made a movie with the Zephyr as the star.”

The event is scheduled for Sunday, April 28, from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $65 per person ($60 for members) and may be purchased online at www.aurorahistory.net, by calling (630) 906-0650, or by sending a check to the historical society at P.O. Box 905, Aurora, IL 60507.

Leadership Flexibility

April 13th, 2019

The word leadership is something that has developed more meaning and depth for me within the last weeks in the academy. A reoccurring theme that keeps appearing throughout the various sessions with different leaders is the notion of perspective and understanding. Something I never thought to be correlated with leadership, but now has shifted. The understanding of different leadership styles, being able to understand people’s perspective in order to have effective leadership.

We’ve covered through different theories of leadership styles and characteristics but the ability to be understanding of the person’s perspective in order to be an effective leader has been very salient in presentation. From understanding that a company is not meeting targets and seeking innovative ways to transform this culture to being able to understand staff impact and perspective by this shift. The understanding of leadership theory (theory y, soft x, and hard x) and knowing when to use them depending on the the circumstance.

It’s been quite eye opening in being in tune with my own leadership style and when to adjust the “getting a task done” with building a level of understanding in order to complete the initiative to the fullest potential. It’s been especially interesting to learn the different forms of effective leadership from all hierarchal  standpoints and with different levels of authority. I love being able to challenge myself to think about these presentations and become a change agent.

Miriam Meza is the communications manager at the Aurora Public Library. Miriam earned her masters in higher education from Northern Illinois University. She currently lives in Aurora with fiancé and beagle.

My Happy Place

April 10th, 2019

Have you ever heard the phrase “Be a leader not a follower?” Well to me, that was a scary phrase growing up. It caused me to have so many questions that I ended up with anxiety over it. I thought to myself “How do I become a leader? What does it mean to be a leader? Am I a leader or a follower?”

As I grew older the phrase rang louder in my head. It was a bit more difficult to answer my own questions due to the fact that I was suffering from social anxiety. My place in life and at work had made me become a bit of an introvert, because of that I loved staying behind scenes. And since I worked as a teller at a bank and I could have stayed a teller forever! But I soon realized that my happy place couldn’t last forever if I wanted to be successful. I wanted more out of my career at the bank and I started thinking about becoming a banker.

My anxiety took hold of me and I started to question myself. “How can I as an introvert start a conversation without being awkward to potential clients?” If I couldn’t do that than I wasn’t going to succeed. This is where I knew I needed to be a leader in my own life and stop being scared! I’m sure it is easier to those that are naturally born leaders but for me it was a scary thought and I had to be taught. So those unanswered questions I had as a child came rushing back.

I have learned so much in the last three years due to the fact that I found a mentor at work who instilled in me a confidence I didn’t know I had. She was a blessing in disguise. She saw something special in me, so she listened to my doubts and answered my questions. She not only helped me in my professional life but also my personal one.

As I started to grow as a leader I realized being a leader is not an exact science but rather leading someone to believe in themselves, to be a coach on the sidelines, or be their fan in the stands. My mentor had seen my growth, she told me I was ready to become a fearless leader. I laughed nervously as I had yet to see myself as that leader she saw.

Without even realizing it I had emerged as a leader within my peers, leading by example. So when she told me that she was leaving my branch I immediately knew she had been preparing me for something big. I was scared, I wanted to go back to my happy place as a teller. To go back to being behind the scenes, but no I refused to let fear of the unknown set in and I decided it was my time to step up.

Taking these classes through the Aurora Chamber Leadership Academy has shown me who are the leaders in my life. That I too am a leader. Visiting different businesses and getting to speak with different people I’ve realized that you don’t have to be in management to be a leader. I can happily say that in my own way I’ve become a leader both at work and within my own life. I look forward to continuous growth and learning development. I want to be that coach on the sidelines for somebody else.

Claudia Tornero is an Aurora, IL resident. She has 14 years of banking experience and currently works at First Midwest Bank in downtown Aurora.

The Ever Changing “Leader”

April 4th, 2019

As I sit contemplating what being an effective leader means to me, I can’t help but to think of all the people who fill this role in our lives. Starting from the day we were born, we have been led by parents, family, teachers, Churches, coaches, bosses, etc.… each one of those people play a crucial part in molding what “leader” means to all of us.

I have had the pleasure of working with nurturing mentors and/or leaders who have a true team approach. They set an exceptional example on how a team mentality works. They found their team members strengths and help build upon those. Kept an open-door policy and making it easy to share ideas leading to growth. It was important that everyone was heard, valued, and encouraged. By doing so it cultivated a positive work environment with a sense of purpose. This energy then transmitted to our client and business interactions. They achieved a happy, productive workplace environment and made their business a true success.

On the extreme opposite, I have experienced working with an unmotivated, micro-manager. The office morale was dark and stressed. There was no room for opposition or new ideas. There were no “good jobs” or “thank you’ s” only “we aren’t doing enough”. One by one, talented, creative, and capable individuals moved on. Our clients felt the negativity resulting in loss of good business. All of this because of one bad leader.

These last few weeks I have had the opportunity to visit with some local business leaders in Aurora. They have shared what their organization’s look for and need in a leader. And taught key points on how they work to meet that need. A common factor I have noted is that a successful organization needs a team. It’s imperative to have a visionary to think big and next level. To have an organizer to help structure those visions and keep things running smoothly. A motivated individual, a doer, to go out and share the vision of the business. It is necessary to build a team that compliments each other’s strengths and weaknesses. One person can’t do it all.

Secondly, there are no two people exactly alike. In the business climate of 2019, you need to be inclusive and open to diversity. We have to look beyond our bias and see the unlimited potential out in the world. As leaders, we may have to push ourselves out of our comfort zone to explore all opportunities. To bring new vision and flavor to thrive in today’s ever-changing business world. Immerse yourself in getting to know who makes up your community. Get out, connect, and ask what their needs are.

I will move forward in my role with a clearer vision as to what type of leader I want to be. My vision is to be positive, motivated, inclusive, goal oriented, intuitive, and warm. I am leading dynamic individuals with different views, qualities, and attributes. It is important that I recognize their strengths and build on them. I am thankful for all the examples, good or bad, from those who have shaped my definition of what being a leader is. It is important to realize the individual impact we have on people. We are either directly or indirectly shaping someone else’s “leader” definition too.

Blanca Townsend is a personal lines account rep with Konen Insurance and a 2019 participant in the Aurora Leadership Academy.

Historical Society Displays Crosses

April 4th, 2019

The five white wooden crosses memorializing the victims of the workplace shooting at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora are on display at the Piece Art and History Center through May 4, 2019.

The crosses were given to the Aurora Historical Society to be kept in perpetuity.  In accepting the crosses at a ceremony on March 31, Executive Director John Jaros said, “Long after all of us are gone, people will still be able to remember and tell the story of what happened in Aurora on February 15, 2019.”

The crosses, and some of the memorabilia left  with them at the Pratt site, are exhibited within the second floor exhibit, “Aurora Story.”  Pierce Center hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.  There are extended hours, from 6 to 9 p.m., on First Fridays, April 5 and May 4.  Admission to the Pierce Center is free, although donations are appreciated.  It is located at 20 E. Downer Place.

After May 4, the crosses and memorabilia will be cleaned, cataloged, and archived.  They will be put briefly on display again at the one-year anniversary of the tragedy.

There is more information online at www.aurorahistory.org and on Facebook and Instagram at aurorahistory.

April 1 Updates from #AuroraChamber

April 1st, 2019

The City of Aurora has launched a pilot citizen engagement website.

Aurora Chamber

  In This Issue  

State of The Village Set »
Public Policy Updates »
Premier Investors »
Elite Members »
Calendar of Events »
Businesses Help Combat Opioid Crisis »
We’re Hiring »
Member News »
Spotlight On Membership »
About The Aurora Chamber »


State of The Village

Public Policy Updates

The City of Aurora has launched a pilot citizen engagement website at www.letstalk.aurora-il.org. This project will allow the City to share information on projects with constituents and to receive feedback that can inform future project action and/or activity. There are currently three projects on the site: Business Registration, Senior Services, and Citizen Engagement.Business Registration: The City of Aurora is developing a proposed business registration program for City Council consideration. On the engagement site you will find documents associated with the program and related outreach activity. Engagement tools on this project page include: Forum: moderated discussion among site (registered) participants; Q&A: Participant asked questions with staff responses; Ideas: participant shared ideas.

Data Center Bill Passes First Hurdle »
Ill. Chamber Backs Transportation Modernization Plan »
City of Aurora Launches Engagement Website »
House GOP Lawmakers Urge: ‘Stop Ignoring Tax Realities’ »
COGFA Issues Report on State Employee Group Insurance »
Major Sports Wagering Proposals Introduced »
Tobacco 21 to Governor »
Consumer Liquor Home Delivery Passes Committee »
Gov. Pritzker Unveils Graduated Tax Proposal »
Illinois GA Bills to Watch »
COGFA Reports on Impact of Local Government Pensions »
Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s Respond Negatively to Pritzker Budget Proposal »
House Republicans File Resolution Opposing Gov. Pritzker’s Unfair Tax »
$15 Minimum Wage Passes Senate »

Premier Investors

Premier Investors

Elite Members

 95.9 The River      Above Board Indoor Environmental      Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.      AMITA Health Mercy Medical Center      Artesan Lofts      Aurora Bank & Trust      Aurora Collective      Aurora University      Barbara Geiger – Keller Williams Experience      Best Rates Heating and Cooling      Caterpillar, Inc.      City Segment      ComEd      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      ganc.io      Healthcare Solutions Team – Deepti Srivastava      Henkels & McCoy, Inc.      Jiffy Lube Multi-Care      Kluber Architects + Engineers       Konen Insurance Agency, Inc.      Luke Singh – Country Financial      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      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      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

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 AvailableGrand Opening: Art of Emergency Care Exhibit
Friday, April 12, 4-7 p.m.
Ribbon Cutting at 4:30 p.m.
Aurora Regional Fire Museum, 53 N. Broadway, Aurora

Coffee & Connections
Tuesday, April 16, 8:30-10 a.m.
Chamber offices, 43 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora

Coffee with Congress: Rep. Lauren Underwood
Friday, April 19, at 8:30 a.m.


The Aurora Regional Chamber is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation on the launch of the new Sharing Solutions resource hub designed to empower businesses to help combat the opioid crisis. We hope that you will take the time to explore the site and benefit from the information provided.Sharing Solutions highlights employer and employee resources and showcases innovative solutions to address the opioid crisis. Resources include – education and prevention techniques, how to create a drug free workplace, how to work with benefit providers and more. This site also offers the ability to suggest a resource or story you have found helpful.

Join businesses across our community and country in combating the crisis and saving lives.


The Aurora Chamber is looking to hire a part-time Office Manager. If you know of anyone who meets the requirements and may be interested, please share the link(s) with them.

Member News

Join JA at the Middle School Career Fair »
Open House, Expo Planned at Abbey Farms: The Emporium »
The Intentionality of Creating a Safe Space »
It Starts with a Signature »
Asking “Why” »
CFFRV Seeks Director of Development »
Rich Harvest Farms to Host 2019 Western Junior »
Leadership Not One-Size-Fits-All »
Learn the Signs of Teen Dating Violence »
Leadership Is Service »
Aurora Farmers Market Announces New Season, New Location »
US DOL Opens Applications for HIRE Vets Medallion »


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


Data Center Bill Passes First Hurdle

March 31st, 2019

This week, the Senate Revenue Committee approved SB 1591(Sims) that will be brought back with an additional amendment in the coming week. The legislation is an initiative of the Illinois Chamber and would create a sales and use tax and electricity excise tax exemptions for data centers.  Today, 30 states (from Washington to Florida, New York to Arizona) have incentives that are specifically targeted at attracting data centers as part of expanded economic development efforts. However, 24 of these states have enacted legislation since 2012 in an effort to capture a greater percentage of the growth. Illinois is surrounded by states that offer data center incentives. The legislation is designed to compete with surrounding states and to help boost our demand for data centers and therefore strengthen our stature as a digital powerhouse.

Ill. Chamber Backs Transportation Modernization Plan

March 31st, 2019

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce backed a transportation modernization program, HB 3823, introduced Wednesday evening by Representative André M. Thapedi, D-Chicago, to raise $2 billion in annual revenue offset with pro-consumer and pro-business reforms. The bill phases out the state sales tax on motor fuel with consumers realizing a combined 15 cent per gallon Motor Fuels Tax increase. The sales tax swap eliminates a state tax on motor fuel, narrows the price gap between Illinois and neighboring states, and will create consumer savings when gas rises above $2 per gallon. While the Chamber does not take tax increases lightly, Illinois must act now to improve and invest in our infrastructure system to ensure the state remains the transportation hub of North America. The bill includes:

Annual funding of:

  • $600 million for IDOT
  • $240 million for local governments (a 40% increase over today’s funding)
  • $672 million for transit capital expenses
  • $20 million for the Grade Crossing Protection Fund to fund better rail/highway grade crossings
  • $2 million for construction trades training for disadvantaged populations

Bond funding of:

  • $4 billion to IDOT to accelerate bridge improvements
  • $1 billion for other needs (ports, federal grant match for local governments, transit)

Join JA at the Middle School Career Fair

March 29th, 2019

Junior Achievement is partnering with the Aurora middle schools to host an after school Career Fair on Tuesday, April 16th.  We would love you or your organization to participate!!
What?    Career Fair for Aurora Middle School Students
Who?     Roughly 200 Students
When?   Tuesday, April 16, 3:30–6:00pm
Where?  Prisco Community Center, 150 W. Illinois Ave., Aurora, IL 60506
Why?      Explore career options with experienced professionals. Research shows that getting students interested in careers in middle school helps improve school performance and job readiness after high school.

Our goal is to bring in people working in the trades or manufacturing to talk informally with individual or small groups of students about their careers from experienced professionals who have been there and are doing (or have done) that!  Students love hearing about what you do, what you like and dislike about your field, how you found your career or how it found you!  The format is strictly conversational – no presentations needed!  You will have the opportunity to setup a table/booth; hands on and interactive activities are welcome and encouraged!


Please let me know by Friday, April 5th if you or someone from your group will join us for a great event!

Open House, Expo Planned at Abbey Farms: The Emporium

March 29th, 2019

Abbey Farms announces that their annual open house will take place on Sunday, April 14, at Abbey Farms: The Emporium, from 1 to 4 p.m. Located at 2855 Hart Road in Aurora, this rustic-chic barn venue is in its fifth year of hosting wedding receptions, fundraisers, corporate outings, and other events. Abbey Farms specializes in creating personalized events that will wow guests.

According to Wendy Felder, venue and resource manager at Abbey Farms, the event gives the public the opportunity to tour the venue and surrounding grounds.

“The Emporium Annual Open House is for everyone and anyone who would like to learn more about hosting an event here,” Felder stated. “Admission is free, and it is a great opportunity to see the beautiful venue and its stunning surrounding landscape and outside spaces.

“Whether you are just starting to plan, thinking about planning, or well into your plans, this is for you,” she continued. “Everyone is welcome!”

Adam Voirin, chief operations officer, further commented on the flexibility of the venue space.

“Each of our wedding receptions is as different as the couples who book with us,” Voirin explained. “If vintage and country is your sweet spot, our reclaimed barn board walls are a perfect backdrop. If your tastes are more sophisticated, upgrade the elegance with perfectly chosen décor and floral arrangements.

“Our wedding partners and preferred vendors will expertly guide you toward achieving the desired atmosphere,” he added. “An event planner is included with a booking, which helps ensure your planning process is simplified.”

Upon arrival, attendees will be greeted with champagne and Abbey Farms’ famous apple cinnamon donuts. Besides touring the venue, attendees can visit with wedding ceremony partners and preferred vendors while enjoying light refreshments and catering samples. Vendors will include transportation specialists, hotel partners, ceremony and design planners, caterers, bakeries, florists, décor specialists, hotels, photographers, DJs, and more.

Although wedding receptions are the focus of the open house, anyone considering an event can find answers to their questions.  This might include corporate events and fundraisers, along with family reunions and graduations.

All attendees will have the opportunity to register for an hourly raffle giveaway of a Picnic Movie Night for Two. The Picnic Movie Night for Two includes: two Pumpkin Daze tickets, two tickets to a movie night with s’mores and a private firepit, $20 gift certificate for concessions, six apple cider donuts, a bottle of wine (from the Abbey Farms preferred wine list), and more.

Pre-registration is suggested by visiting abbeyfarms.org/store, or attendees can register at the door. For more venue information, visit abbeyfarms.org or call (630) 966-7775, ext. 3.

About Abbey Farms: The Emporium: A venue with more than 8,000 square feet of private space, The Emporium’s hall is clad in antique reclaimed barn wood and lit with elegant chandeliers. Visitors can take in sweeping views of the Fox River Valley outside under a covered porch or on a custom brick patio with a stone fireplace. The vintage-inspired barn seats up to 300 guests and is fully heated and air-conditioned for comfort, no matter what the weather.