After 16 years with first the Downers Grove Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry and then Chamber630, President and CEO Laura Crawford retires June 29.
“Being able to work with an amazing staff, wonderful businesses, a supportive Board of Directors, and some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, has been such a gift,” said Crawford.
“I’ve been told, ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ How lucky am I to be retiring after never working one single day?”
In the 72-year history of the Chamber, Crawford is only the third president. She came to the then-Downers Grove Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry, after 8 years with the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce as the Senior VP, Marketing, Membership & Legislative Affairs.
“Laura’s dedication to Chamber630 and commitment to its members is unparalleled in the industry. She has been an incredible driving force for the business community and will be tremendously missed, said Karyn Charvat, Chamber630 Board Chairperson and Executive Director of PowerForward DuPage. “Laura’s leadership and years of service have truly made the Chamber one of the region’s premier business associations.”
Under Crawford’s leadership, the first strategic plan was implemented that included key performance indicators related to the opportunities to market members of the chamber, advocate for businesses, workforce, and future workforce development, and connecting members to their customers. Part of that plan included moving the Chamber office from its downtown Downers Grove location to the large business district at Hamilton Lakes, Esplanade at Locust Point in 2008.
Crawford also brought back a much beloved program, now called Attainable Futures, which was the catalyst of the affiliate 501©3 organization called 630 Workforce Education Foundation. The Attainable Futures program is a partnership with Community High School District 99, preparing students for the workforce.
In 2010 Crawford was approached about the possibility of a merger. It came to fruition in 2014 when the Downers Grove Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry merged with the Woodridge Area Chamber of Commerce, thus creating Chamber630, or as she says, “The Center of the Suburbs.”
“It took a lot of collaboration to ensure all areas of both chambers were addressed. Both towns continue to grow and have potential for more growth, as does Chamber630,” said Crawford.
Chamber630 is hosting a special Business of the Clock in honor of Crawford’s retirement. Those who would like to wish Crawford well on this next chapter are welcome to attend Thursday, June 21 from 5-7 p.m. at Weber Grill, 2331 Fountain Square Dr, Lombard. Please RSVP here as well.