As president and CEO, Todd Maisch establishes the goals for the Chamber and coordinates the efforts of the various councils and staff. Maisch has spearheaded such critical achievements as directing and releasing the Waterways: A Crisis Continued report on the state's waterways transportation system, and the Illinois Military Base and Defense Industry Assets Economic Impact Study: State and Regional Analyses report. Each have become the basis for legislative testimony, public outreach, and have been cited in planning documents by various groups. Within hours of the November 2014 election, Maisch was tapped by Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner to sit on his economic development transition committee. Because of Maisch's extensive experience in government and business, he is uniquely qualified to provide insight into how government can encourage a healthy economy. He has been featured on the Illinois Channel and numerous publications, and speaks to several business-related organizations about the business community's needs and the Chamber's successes. Maisch has been with the Chamber for 20 years.
Maisch holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana, and an MBA from Illinois State University. Prior to joining the Chamber in 1994, Todd worked for the General Assembly as a research analyst for the House Republican staff. While working for the General Assembly, he staffed the House Revenue and State Government Committees. He also served as a policy analyst for the House Republican Campaign Committee where he managed political campaigns.
Candace Gerritsen serves as Chief Operating Officer for the Chamber. She is responsible for budgeting and financial management, human resources/personnel management, contractual agreements, legal services, and facilities management as well as interfacing with the Board of Directors. Most recently serving as Vice President of Operations, Gerritsen joined the Chamber staff as Executive Assistant to the President in November 2001 in which she worked closely with President and CEO Doug Whitley.
Gerritsen previously served with a computer consulting company as Office Manager for eight years where she facilitated day-to-day activities of the office, worked with the President and Regional Director, and was the Human Resources Coordinator.
Gerritsen earned her bachelor's degree in international studies with a minor in business administration from Millikin University and a certificate under the Society of Human Resource Management from DePaul University in Chicago.
Jeanette has been with the Illinois Chamber since November, 1983. She began her career with the Illinois Chamber as receptionist. In this role she became known to members throughout the state as that friendly voice who answered phones in the Chicago headquarters. She later worked in Membership Marketing as the Secretary and provided assistance to the Vice President and the membership sales staff. In 1999, Jeanette was promoted to the Finance Department serving as Supervisor of Financial Transactions. In 2001, Jeanette assumed the duties of Office Manager, and continues to assist the Finance Department and the Membership Department in its efforts.
Jim Bajt has served with the Illinois Chamber for over 11 years as a Member Services Manager with the responsibility for membership growth and retention. Jim works with the entire membership to educate them on current legislative initiatives that impact their businesses. He has also worked in the same capacity with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for 4 years and he held similar positions with the Florida State Chamber of Commerce and the Chicagoland Chamber for two years with each organization.
Callie Cimarossa has joined the chamber and has already proven her organizational skills. She has a background in administration, having come to the Illinois Chamber from Blue Cross Blue Shield, where she worked with members who had Affordable Care Act policies. As a fast learner, she was up to speed on Chamber activities in about 15 minutes. The native of Pleasant Plains helping the team run more smoothly.
Elizabeth works with the Center of Business Services to create and solicit sponsorship and marketing opportunities with Illinois Chamber Events. She understands the importance of new exposure and maintaining relationships in the ever changing business economy.
Elizabeth is a graduate of Central Michigan University, with a bachelor in Applied Arts.
Tyler Diers comes to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce from the Senate Republican staff where he was a legislative analyst for the Senate Local Government Committee. As a legislative analyst, he provided legislative information to caucus members and resolved local government issues with respective interest groups and state legislators. During his time on Senate staff he also worked within the District Planning and Member Services division, helping facilitate project management for elected officials. Prior to working for the Senate Republicans, Tyler was a government affairs intern here at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, so he knows what the Chamber stands for and what it wants to accomplish. He was also a Vince Demuzio Intern at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.
Tyler graduated cum laude at Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.
Jack most recently spent 4 years with the Naperville Chamber of Commerce developing membership relationships with in the surrounding area. He has been in the business development arena the majority of his business career.
Peggy joined the Illinois Chamber staff in February of 1983. During her tenure she was the Administrative Assistant to the Vice President of Membership Sales and Services, assisting with the day-to-day operations of the department along with working with the Executive Staff and Board of Directors. Peggy was promoted to Membership Retention Executive in June of 1996. As membership executive she was responsible for $2.5 million in renewal revenues. Her duties included contacting member companies for membership renewal and obtaining feed-back from members on issues that impact their operations in Illinois.
Peggy is now Membership Accounts Manager. In this position, Peggy works closely with the Executive Staff, Vice President of Membership and Marketing and with the Directors of Corporate Partnerships. She is responsible for the Chamber members annual billing and other member related invoicing along with maintaining the Chambers’ membership database.
Other responsibilities include: assisting members with export documentation information on Certificates of Origin, Affidavits, Chamber of Commerce Declarations and supplying general information to members and non-members.
Pam Holleman joined the Illinois Chamber of Commerce as a Human Resources Specialist and Publication Sales Representative. Pam handles publication sales and registrations for seminars, webinars, and conferences. Pam previously worked for the Illinois Chamber for 3 years as the Human Resources Information Manager. In this role she ran the HR Helpline, edited the HR blog and contributed to the HR Exec.
Before working for the Illinois Chamber, Pam had a strong background in Human Resources including 10 years working as a Human Resources Manager for various manufacturing companies. Her experience includes handling a whole host of H/R issues including: interviewing, hiring, disciplinary action, benefits administration, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, safety, and discrimination claims. She has also done some consulting work on employment law issues. With this background in Human Resources, Pam understands the products and events of the Illinois Chamber and can better assist members and clients to make informed decisions about what they need to run their business successfully.
Pam holds a Bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in Human Resources from Trinity Christian College, in Palos Heights, IL.
Kelli Jessup joined the Illinois Chamber staff in June of 2014. Kelli works directly with the director of business services to coordinate and produce webinars, seminars, conferences, and publications, all of which help keep Illinois businesses in compliance by educating them about the many federal and state regulations and laws.
Kelli is a graduate of University of Illinois at Springfield with a bachelor’s degree in Communications with an emphasis on interpersonal communication and public relations.
Rachael Krekel came to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce with a background in customer service, sales, and marketing from past retail positions. Some of the locations she worked at were Enterprise Rent-a-car as a manager trainee, and JCPenney as a supervisor. In both positions, she gained a sense of urgency in productivity and helped other employees reach sales and customer service goals.
As the receptionist/marketing assistant, she works hand in hand with all the chamber staff, whether it be to help prepare for an event, update the website, assist with webinars, or preform daily tasks. She is an eager employee with an optimistic attitude. She is always willing to take on more for growth and opportunity.
Rachael Krekel graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in December 2012, with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing.
Laurie Silvey joined the Chamber in 2010. She has a background as co-owner of a motorsports magazine for 20 years, with experience in publishing and page layout, extensive event planning, promotions and marketing of an annual consumer trade show and several annual motorsports events. Current responsibilities include planning, budgeting, marketing and presentation of all seminars, conferences and webinars under the responsibility of the Business Services Division. She is the editor/publisher of the Illinois Business Leader magazine, the Illinois Chamber's print publication. She is also responsible for promotion and marketing of publications and events.
Laurie currently serves as Employer Outreach Director on the Executive Board of the Illinois Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, Washington D.C.
She most recently served as Executive Director of Menard County Tourism Council, where she designed and maintained their website, planned monthly and annual meetings, promotions and marketing of county tourism fundraisers. She was also Regional Administrative Coordinator of the Great Lakes Region of Horace Mann Insurance Corporation, planning numerous conferences, rallies, and district meetings.