Chamber names new executive director
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:17AM
The Evanston Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has appointed Elaine Kemna-Irish as the Chamber’s new executive director.
She begins work officially on Friday.
Kemna-Irish has worked for the Evanston Chamber since 2007 and has served as the Director of Chamber Operations the last two years. As the Chamber has undergone transition, Kemna-Irish has maintained the organization’s member services, programs and community events.
According to Steve Hagerty, a former board president and Evanston business owner, “Elaine embodies the traits all business owners and organizations look for in employees – commitment, perseverance, adaptability, competence, passion, and creativity.”
Prior to joining the Chamber, Kemna-Irish worked as the marketing manager and executive secretary to the President of SPEX, one of Chicagoland’s leading optical retailers.
She also held positions at United Eye Care Providers, Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, International Visitors Center, United Way of the Bay Area, Citibank Private Banking and Dean Witter Reynolds.
“The Board is excited to extend this position to Elaine,” said Dick Peach, chamber president and general manager of Dempster Auto Rebuilders. “She is someone who has worked tirelessly on behalf of Evanston businesses the last several years and who embodies through her own life story the ability to consistently exceed expectations, adapt to changing circumstances, and never lose confidence in her own abilities or the importance of what she is doing.
“The Board looks forward to working with Elaine and helping her establish and implement a vision for the Evanston Chamber that first and foremost serves the needs of its members and secondly brings about increased economic development that serves all business and residents of Evanston.”
Kemna-Irish has resided in Evanston since 2007 and worked in Evanston the last 14 years. She is married to John Irish. Her daughter, Stephanie graduated from ETHS in 2008. In addition to her professional endeavors, she has been active in The Woman’s Club of Evanston, Connections for the Homeless, Evanston School Children Clothing Association, and the Deacon’s Closet of the First Presbyterian Church of Evanston. Kemna-Irish replaces Eve Doi who left the Chamber in May 2012.