This month we have been highlighting our Affinity Groups – the member-driven teams organized around a particular industries or interests.  Our Health and Wellness Group is the largest among our four

Health and Wellness meets only three times a year, other than subcommittee work focused on organizing our annual Community Health and Wellness Fair.  Two of the tri-annual “meetings” are targeted networking opportunities for professionals within the wellness space to come together and get to know each other.  Named “business card exchanges,” these are more than just mixers.  Providers come to intentionally build their referral base.

Wellness providers tell us that general Chamber networking helps them meet potential clients. However, they wanted an affinity group to meet each other.

Our two Business Card Exchanges gather physical therapists, acupuncturists, fitness gurus, medical doctors, podiatrists, audiologists, social workers, the home help services, mental health professionals and others in the industry.  They come together to learn about each other’s practices so that they speak knowledgeably and make referrals when patients need services that they themselves do not provide.

The next Business Card Exchange is Wednesday, February 28 at 5pm at Rush Oak Park Hospital.  Free to members, $20 for nonmembers. Register at

The third annual professional development gathering of the Health and Wellness Affinity Group is the “vendor meet-up” held in conjunction with the annual health fair.  Providers are given tips on creating an exciting and magnetic trade booths at consumer-oriented expos.  While this opportunity is linked to our own health fair, it is open to all members, not just exhibitors at our own event.

Finally, the Health and Wellness Affinity Group organizes our annual health fair in partnership with the West Cook YMCA.  This once a year event gathers over seventy exhibitors and attracts hundreds of local residents.  Although putting on an event of this magnitude is a labor of love, the process itself builds relationships and establishes our member volunteers as leaders in our business community.

The annual Community Health and Wellness Fair  will be held on Sunday, April 29 from 11am – 3pm at the West Cook YMCA.  The event is free and open to the public.

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Cathy Yen

Cathy Yen is the Executive Director of the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce.  She has lived in Oak Park for 21 years and done business locally, first as a retailer and then as a small business...