Oak Park and River Forest Chamber of Commerce needs change

Opinion: Editorials

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In most towns the local Chamber of Commerce is a force to be reckoned with. Not so much in Oak Park and River Forest where over the years the Chamber has been a comfortable gathering place for small businesses, many of them home-based. We hope that will change now that the Chamber board has hired Cathy Yen as its new director.

Yen is one of our favorite people. She has run a small retail business locally (Great Harvest Bread Co.), is president of the Huskie Boosters and is a blogger on all sorts of issues related to what makes a small business hum.

With the backing of her board, Yen has the capacity to turn our Chamber into an active, progressive advocate for the local business community. And that we'd like to see, along with the disappearance of the "interim" tag before her title.

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John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 2nd, 2013 12:04 PM

I found the below quote at the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce website and found it helpful in understanding Oak Park's Community an Economic Development. The quote - "Community development is the process of making the community a better place to live and work and occurs primarily in the public sector. Economic development is the process of creating wealth, in which community benefits are created SECONDARILY. To have a vibrant local economy, a community NEEDS BOTH community development and economic development." Missing in the quote is the words "residents" and any reference to how discord between community and economic development is resolved. It would be a great start for Cathy Yen to clarify the role of the Chamber on economic development. My sense is that the OP Board sees itself responsible for both community and economic development using the 1990 Comprehensive Plan as its assumption base. Is that the best way to accomplish community and economic growth? Lots of luck in your new position, Cathy, and thanks again to JIm Doss for his help, support, and friendship.

Oakparker from Oak Park  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 1:38 AM

My 2 cents worth - why such negative comments about the Chamber while Jim Doss was there? I no longer belong to Chamber, but I want to comment that Jim Doss did a remarkable job; he was the reason I joined some years ago. He made everyone feel welcome and worked tirelessly for members. Change occurs for many reasons and I'm sure Cathy Yen will bring some new ideas and I wish her success with them. Hopefully her efforts won't end up being negatively written up here in the future.

Get involved people  

Posted: March 21st, 2013 12:19 PM

Sure, maybe a new "set of eyes" will be great, but Jim Doss did a great job with what he had. There are a lot of things that prevented things from happening within the chamber, Jim Doss wasn't one of them. No slight against Cathy at all, she will be great and as I said, new set of eyes/direction, but there are a lot of people who point the finger of a bad job but did nothing to get involved or help. Time for some of those people to step up.

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