Letter from the President

Letter from the President

It’s hard to believe that 2021 is almost at an end.  If 2020 was a roller coaster, this year has been more like a steady uphill climb as we collectively moved toward a return to safety and stability.  When I look back to where we were 12 months ago, I am amazed at all that has been accomplished.

For the Chamber, it has been a year of adaptation and experimentation.  Thanks to vaccines and other safety measures, we were able to bring back many of our in-person programs.  From the June Golf Outing to the fall Mingle & Munch, with lots of First Friday and Business After Hours events along the way, members came together to build connections and support each other.  We also offered a variety of virtual programs that members have found to be convenient and engaging.  However, you choose to participate, we appreciate everyone’s involvement and the flexibility members have shown as we navigate changing safety standards.

We have been amazingly fortunate through this time to have outstanding leadership from our Board of Directors.  I want to give special recognition to our Board Chair Bob Caldwell and Treasure Steve Schmit, both of whom volunteered to serve an extra year in those positions to preserve continuity through this difficult time.  Bob in particular has been incredibly involved and supportive throughout his tenure, inspiring all of us by his dedication to the Chamber as well as the broader community. As they both step down from their positions as Board officers, Bob and Steve should be proud of all they accomplished during this uniquely turbulent period in the Chamber’s history.

I also thank all of our Board members who have provided support, insight, and guidance through the past year.  Two of those members, Holly Allgauer-Cir, and Peter Balyeat, are finishing their second full terms and will be retiring from the Board.  We very much appreciate their contributions over the years.  Looking ahead, we will welcome Ousman Conteh and Jennifer Spencer to the Board in 2022, and we thank Julie Lerman and Robyn Kole for stepping up as our new Board Chair and Treasurer.

In the coming year, the Chamber will continue to evolve its programming and services to meet the ongoing challenges facing the business community.  We welcome your ideas, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!  In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the holiday season and wish you a happy, healthy 2022.


Tensley Garris
Northbrook Chamber President