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    The Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce is celebrating a successful 2018, proudly serving as the voice of Metro East businesses and striving toward organizational advancement.
    President and CEO Desiree Bennyhoff said the chamber continued its effort to advocate for business-friendly legislation, calling for local units of government to hold their respective tax levies to save dollars for both business owners and residents.
    In 2014 the Ed/Glen Chamber’s board of directors adopted a strategic plan that included accreditation as a centerpiece of the initiative. Much of the chamber’s 2018 plan of work focused on finalizing the U.S. Chamber accreditation process, with the final package submitted Dec. 31. Once achieved, the Ed/Glen Chamber’s accreditation further validates the chamber’s commitment to excellence in organizational leadership and adherence to industry best practices. It will place the Ed/Glen Chamber in the top 2 percent of chambers in Illinois.
    The Ed/Glen Chamber hosted a number of members-only summits throughout the year with federal and state elected officials, including a state and federal tax reform program with Congressmen John Shimkus, Rodney Davis and Mike Bost. In addition, the chamber – in conjunction with the Greater Gateway Association of Realtors – welcomed business and real estate professionals to an economic forecast breakfast featuring National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun and St. Louis Regional Chamber Senior Vice President of Economic Development Jim Alexander.
    In line with the chamber’s goal of becoming nationally accredited, staff leadership remains paramount. In 1921 the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Institute for Organization Management program was designed to enhance individual performance, elevate professional standards, and recognize association, chamber of commerce, and other nonprofit professionals who demonstrate the knowledge essential to the practice of nonprofit management. After graduating in 2016, Bennyhoff in both 2017 and 2018 was invited to serve as an IOM class advisor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. In 2017 she was named to IOM’s curriculum committee, which governs course content at all five Institute sites across the country. And in October 2018, Bennyhoff was appointed to the Midwest IOM board of regents. In addition, Ed/Glen Chamber Membership Director Katie Haas completed her first year of Institute in 2018 and looks forward to returning for the remaining three years of coursework.
    Bennyhoff continues serving on the Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives board of directors, and in 2017 became past chair after two years as chairman of the board. She has also served on the Illinois Chamber of Commerce board of directors since 2015 – further evidence of the Ed/Glen Chamber’s commitment to consistently represent the voice of Metro East businesses before a statewide audience.