Graduation season has kicked off early, as three local figures have announced plans to step down from their positions in the community. The latest to leave is Liz Holt, executive director of the Oak Park and River Forest Chamber of Commerce. She is departing the chamber June 30. 

“I’m proud to be able to hand over such an incredible organization to a new executive director,” said Holt.

Holt has spent six years at the chamber, both as deputy and executive director. She’s seen the chamber through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, developed partnerships with both village governments and advocated for greater support for the small business community. 

“Liz has championed our vision, our mission expertly throughout her tenure as executive director,” said Darien Marion-Burton, chamber board president. “I really am sad to see her go, but I’m also really excited for her as she embarks on the next phase of her career.”

That next phase won’t take her far from the chamber. A resident of Oak Park, Holt is joining forces with a local divorce attorney to develop and launch a national training program for divorce attorneys looking to help clients through mediation rather than the court system. The attorney with whom Holt will be working is a member of the chamber.

“I’m looking forward to working with the chamber on the other side of the fence,” Holt said.

Most recently, Holt helped oversee one of the chamber’s largest events – its community health and wellness fair. The April 23 event brought in a huge crowd of attendees from over 60 zip codes, reaching far beyond the borders of Oak Park and River Forest. 

She still has plenty left on the docket before her departure. A full calendar of chamber events has been planned for Pride month, including workshops for local businesses building an inclusive workplace. The chamber is also partnering with Downtown Oak Park to bring 10 fabulous drag queens to the village June 22 for a special Thursday Night Out event. Holt is “hugely chuffed” to work with Downtown Oak Park.

While many chambers are still trying to recover from COVID-19 restrictions and struggling to find relevance in their communities, the OPRF chamber has been in a sustained period of growth, according to Holt. Chamber events are generating greater audience numbers and membership has risen, allowing Holt to leave the chamber in a positive position for the next executive director. 

“I feel all the love for every business and every member who have supported me over the last six years, and you know I will continue to support them.”

Join the discussion on social media!