In a unique year like no other in recent memory, the Kankakee County Chamber weathered the storm of 2020.
The Chamber held its annual meeting via Zoom on Wednesday, and true to the message from keynote speaker Gary Moore, it never gave up on 2020. Chairman Scott Smith orchestrated the meeting along with outgoing Executive Director Angela Morrey and her successor Becky Broderick in a concise, yet impactful 60-minute meeting.
“We’re in good shape,” Smith said. “Both membership and finances remain strong, and those are two things I’m really happy about and frankly, I’m proud of the board and our executive directors keeping it as such.”
Moore, a Kankakee County native and a Bourbonnais resident, said it’s important that we love and embrace our county.
“You don’t hear that enough,” he said. “We don’t hear it out on the streets enough.”
Moore, who is an author, entrepreneur and business executive, referenced how the county persevered through the economic downtown of the 1980s and is now thriving.
“Kankakee County has really turned into a hidden gem of the state of Illinois and the Midwest,” he said. “We are the group, the business leaders, people who are carrying the banner, and we need to be proclaiming and putting into words that Kankakee County is on the move. Kankakee County is on the rise, and great things are happening here.
“We should say it because it’s true. ... We need to celebrate what happens in this county.”
Moore said the community has two world-class hospitals, a community college and Olivet Nazarene University, along with hundreds of businesses.
Moore said that attitude and making a choice and going after it are essential in being successful. Two key ingredients of that are persistence and life balance.
He referenced a quote from Babe Ruth, “It’s really hard to beat a person who won’t quit.”
Moore told a story about how he failed at skiing because he was “falling on purpose.”
“It’s amazing thing once somebody realizes what they’re doing subconsciously to sabotage their own success,” Moore said. “It’s incredible how much better they can do by preventing that fall.
“One thing that I would ask you to do today as business leaders, is to ask yourself what are you doing on a daily or weekly basis, that you don’t realize yet, that maybe you’re sabotaging your own success?”
That self-reflection can lead to being successful, he said, adding that persistence is more important than talent, experience and education among other attributes.
Morrey reported that the board still held 10 ribbon cuttings, four Business After Hours and 50 Monday Minutes in addition to holding Taste Fest, Leadership & Lunch, drive-in movies with Adventure Church, the Chamber golf outing and the recent Shop Small promotion.
“It was not all negative when it comes to COVID and when it comes to 2020,” said Morrey, who also highlighted that the Chamber also honored its 40 Under 40 in a unique way.
She said the chamber remains strong with 403 members, including 14 new members. Treasurer Brian Creek reported that as of Nov. 30, the Chamber had at total revenue of $157,954 for the year and had expenses totaling $143, 063. That left the board with $14,891 and has a total cash balance of $32,489.
“It was a very challenging year, and we were very blessed to have members who supported us throughout the year,” Creek said.