As President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Douglas L. Whitley leads the Chamber’s charge to aggressively promote the interests of Illinois business. Whitley has been a registered Illinois lobbyist for more than 30 years. Whitley has a long record of business leadership and expertise in taxation and regulation, which he has earned in a career spanning the public and private sectors. Before joining the Illinois Chamber, Whitley was President of Ameritech Illinois. Whitley served two years as Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue during the administration of Governor Jim Edgar. Prior to that, Whitley was president of the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois for 14 years. In earlier years, he was a legislative staff member in the Illinois House of Representatives.
Throughout his career, Whitley has held leadership positions with numerous business and civic organizations. Whitley co-founded and co-chairs the Transportation for Illinois Coalition. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Technology Partnership and on the Steering Committee for the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition. Whitley’s other leadership positions have included the Illinois Business Roundtable, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Club of Chicago and Chicago’s Work Force Development Board. Whitley has served on numerous commissions and advisory boards including Governor Quinn’s Economic Recovery Commission, the Advisory Board to the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the Illinois Workforce Investment Board of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
A lifelong Illinois resident, Whitley spent his youth in Atwood, a small, central Illinois farming community of 1,200, where he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Whitley holds a bachelor’s degree in government and history from Southern Illinois University. Western Illinois University granted him an honorary doctorate degree. Whitley and his wife Joanne live in Kane County; they have three children.
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.
As Executive Vice President, Todd Maisch oversees the Business Services Division, Government Affairs and the Membership and Marketing Department. Maisch is also responsible for the overall development and implementation of the Chamber’s government affairs program and serves as the Chamber’s primary contact for legislators, legislative staff members and the Executive Branch. Maisch also serves as Executive Director of the Illinois Chamber Political Action Committee where he is responsible for designing and implementing political and fund-raising strategies. He oversees development of policy positions and advocacy actions by the Chamber’s business issue councils.
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.
As Vice-President of Membership & Marketing at the Illinois Chamber, Alex Perry is in charge of the daily membership and marketing operations, serving over 2,500 members across Illinois and managing five staff members within this department. Perry works closely with the VP of Business Services and VP of Government Affairs to ensure our members have access to our advocacy programs/information, educational seminars and conferences and opportunities to connect with business and government leaders across the state.
Alex graduated Cum Laude from Northwestern University with a B.A. in Political Science.