Lincolnwood chamber chief leads online charge
Jacqueline Boland, executive director for the Lincolnwood Chamber of Commerce | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 15, 2013 2:11AM
Jackie Boland says her professional background in media sales, marketing and communications prepared her well to lead the Lincolnwood Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“You learn a little from every project and pretty soon it adds up to making you well-qualified to run a chamber,” said Boland, who became the organization’s executive director the past November.
A longtime resident of the Old Edgebrook neighborhood of Chicago, Boland most recently served as director of the Sauganash Chamber of Commerce.
Q: What is the role of the chamber of commerce?
A: Electronic marketing, social media, the Internet, email and voicemail have had a huge impact on how business is conducted today. Connecting with people in person is more challenging than in the past. However, the importance of one-on-one human contact in making your business successful cannot be underestimated. Chambers of commerce provide an essential service to local businesses by creating opportunities for members to interact, forge relationships and facilitate communication with colleagues, residents and elected officials. The chamber also offers relevant workshops to provide ongoing educational tools that successful businesses need to grow and thrive.
Q: How does the chamber benefit residents? How does it benefit businesses?
A: A prosperous and diverse business community is essential to creating a stable, safe and strong neighborhood. The two are interconnected and they need each other to thrive. A bustling and active business community adds value to our homes and our quality of life. Residents who are able to shop local save on gas and time, which gives them an opportunity to enjoy the local parks and attend the rich programming that is available at our local gem, the Lincolnwood Public Library. Everybody wins.
Q: What are your duties as executive director?
A: My primary focus is to build the chamber into an essential business partner and resource for Lincolnwood. This is a creative position that allows me to interact with the local community, both business and residential, in a really meaningful way. I see my role as providing opportunities for Lincolnwood’s business community to connect with the residents and other community stakeholders.
Q: What has been your favorite project thus far?
A: I like working on events that connect various areas of the community. For instance, Lincolnwood can be very proud of District 219. It is one of the finest high school districts in the country. I think it is important to support these schools and their students with internships and tangible work experiences right here in our local business community. Encouraging Lincolnwoood’s business and industry to support both the elementary and high schools makes us a stronger community as a whole. I am looking forward to finding opportunities to connect our businesses with our local schools.
Q: What are the greatest challenges facing businesses in Lincolnwood today?
A: Like the rest of the country, Lincolnwood has felt the impact of unemployment. We hope as the economy recovers, our local businesses will benefit from the pent-up demand that was created by the recession.