Chamber Advantage

January 7th, 2024

Long time no chat, right? Can you believe it's been a whole year since our last catch-up? Well, buckle up because I've got the lowdown on some seriously cool stuff heading our way this year!

January is kicking off with a bang – Dry January is in full swing, bringing along our fresh DEI Programming series. And guess what? Bite Nite is making a comeback, ready to spice things up on March 1. Oh, and our Young Professionals are now strutting their stuff as "FLEX" Future Leaders Exchange – talk about a glow-up!

But you know what they say, some things never change. We've got all our stellar programming queued up and remain focused and committed to serving our membership and community, with the ultimate goal that all who live and work in our villages have the opportunity to thrive. So, let's dive headfirst into this new year, keep the good vibes going, and make it one for the books. Who's with me? Let's make 2024 our year to shine!

Darien Marion-Burton

Executive Director

OPRF Chamber of Commerce


Welcome to our inaugural "Dry January Month of Programming" as part of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Programming Series!

Embark on an intentional journey with the OPRF Chamber as we kick off the new year with a celebration of mindful choices, connection, and inclusivity. Our goal is to create a welcoming space for business professionals who are choosing to be mindful about their alcohol consumption, as well as those who don't drink, ensuring that everyone feels embraced and valued.

This Month's Programming

Speed Networking - 2024

Connect with your Network

We had such an amazing time last year, that we decided to keep the fun going! Join us for a fabulous evening where you can connect with old friends and meet new colleagues. We can help you get a LOT done in two short hours!

How it Works

Bring your business cards and your "elevator pitch" and let us do the rest!

We will have tables set up and clear instructions on what to do for each timed networking segment. When the bell rings, you move to the next table! It's as easy as that! We guarantee (well...almost!!) that you won't meet the same person twice!

Once you have registered we will send you specific information about how to prepare and a few tips & tricks on how to make the most of a Speed Networking event. Don't worry - we have you covered.

Use the last half hour to connect with those you would like to make a stronger connection and enjoy food and drinks while you further connections. 


Plan Your Week!

Like to plan ahead?

Here are some events we have coming up over the next week so you can register now and receive a reminder right before the event.

Come join us for these wonderful networking opportunities and continue to grow your business!

Tuesday Jan 9, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM -

Business After Hours-First United Methodist Church of Oak Park

Join us at our regular monthly networking event, Business After Hours (BAH), on the second Tuesday of every month. All members and non-members are welcomed. (Members are free.) Connecting business to business, business to community.

We are meeting this month at First United Methodist Church of Oak Park. Come join us for our first event in this beautiful space as we kick off the Chamber's "Dry January"!  

First United Methodist Church of Oak Park was the first established congregation to settle in the Oak Park area. Led by the Rev. Adonna Reid, the church lives out core values of serving others, working for justice, and growing in faith. It's a congregation that is open to all and engaged in our community.


Thursday Jan 11, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM -

Nonprofit Affinity Group: Maximizing Tools & Resources from the OPRF Chamber

Come join the Chamber's nonprofit group! This month we'll be learning about how to leverage your Chamber membership to the greatest benefit. Our resource person is Darien Marion-Burton, Executive Director of the OPRF Chamber and former chair of its board of directors. Come learn about how to use your Chamber membership to maximum benefit for your nonprofit!


Friday Jan 12, 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM -

Women in Business Meeting

With tax season around the corner, join us to learn about what you can do now to set yourself up for success when the deadline arrives.

Julie Thompson, from Back Office Service Solutions, will cover:

  • tax considerations for setting up your LLC
  • qualities to look for in an accountant
  • tips for organizing your books

Your accountant will thank you for attending this session!


Plan Your Month!

Like to plan ahead?

Here are some events we have coming up over the next month so you can register now and receive a reminder right before the event.

Come join us for these wonderful networking opportunities and continue to grow your business!

Friday Jan 19, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM -

Meet Me For Lunch at Kettlestrings Tavern

Join us for a Chamber sit-down luncheon! A business lunch in a casual setting, with small group networking. Come enjoy the food while you connect and get to know Chamber members.

We'll be at Kettlestrings Tavern, our local corner gastropub in the Southtown district of Oak Park! We'll get to meet the owner and get to know other local business and nonprofit people with a leisurely lunch of tasty food in a cozy setting.


Thursday Jan 25, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM -

FLEX (Young Professionals) Mocktails and Mindfulness at Robert's Westside

Explore the art of creating delectable mocktails with Donnie Biggins, the owner of Robert's Westside. Donnie will guide us through the process of crafting two exquisite mocktails, sharing his expertise and insider tips on achieving the perfect balance of flavors. Participants will also receive recipe cards for Syrups & Non-Alcoholic Cocktails to recreate these delightful drinks at home.


Following the mocktail making, The Way Back Inn, a local organization dedicated to supporting those on their journey to recovery, will lead an engaging and insightful conversation about being sober curious and embracing mindful drinking. Learn about the benefits of choosing non-alcoholic alternatives and gain valuable insights into fostering a more mindful approach to your drinking habits.


Monday Jan 29, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM -

Retailers Focus Group

The OPRF Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for an exciting 2024, and we want your invaluable input to guide us in designing impactful programming that supports your Retail Business. Your voice is crucial in ensuring that our initiatives align seamlessly with your needs and aspirations.

We invite you to a dynamic and interactive meeting facilitated by your peers within the OPRF retail membership community. This session is not just about discussing—it's about collaborating and co-creating a vision for the future of Retail Businesses in our community. The meeting is scheduled to last about an hour and a half, providing ample time for a comprehensive discussion.


Monday Jan 29, 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM -

BIPOC Affinity Group: Marketing 101 Understanding Your Audience

We are thrilled to extend a warm and heartfelt welcome to the BIPOC 2024 Programming series—an initiative dedicated to empowering and celebrating the voices, experiences, and talents of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community. The Oak Park-River Forest (OPRF) Chamber is committed to fostering an inclusive environment that recognizes and amplifies the rich diversity within our community.

Join us for the inaugural event of our BIPOC 2024 Programming series – "BIPOC Marketing Mastery," a dynamic marketing class facilitated by Eugene Varnado of YoojDesigns. As we strive for inclusive and effective marketing strategies, this class will delve into the art of connecting authentically with the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) audience.


Growing Community Media offers you a great opportunity for outreach in the new year in our Women in Business section in Wednesday Journal and The Forest Park Review! Promote your business and the women who make it all happen in print and online. 

Each 1/4 page or larger ad includes a story to allow your business to meaningfully engage with our readers and showcase the impact that the women in your business have. 

Ad Reservation Deadline: Wednesday, January 10 

Ad Materials Due: Friday, January 12

Publication Date: Wednesday, January 17

Ad Rates - Print

1/4 Page (Ad Only) - $195

½ Page Space (¼ Page Ad + ¼ Page Story) - $315

Full Page Space (½ Page Ad + ½ Page Story) - $565

Two Page Spread (Full Page Ad + Full Page Story) - $815

We can design your ad at no additional cost! Feel free to ask me any questions you may have.

Ben Stumpe

Marketing and Advertising Representative

Growing Community Media

(708) 613-3330

[email protected]

Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce

141 S Oak Park Avenue

Suite 3


[email protected]

This eBlast was sent out by the OPRF Chamber of Commerce on behalf of a member in good standing as a member benefit. For information about the event described please contact the host. For information about joining the Chamber, click our website below.

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