Outgoing board member Bob Reece, left, and Businessperson of the Year Robert Yohanan.Photo by Heidi Randhava

The Evanston Chamber of Commerce held its 98th Annual Celebration on Jan. 25 at the Crystal Ballroom and Lounge, where three individuals were honored for their outstanding contributions to the Evanston community. Businessperson of the Year was Robert Yohanan, a founder of First Bank & Trust. Nonprofit Person of the Year was visual artist Joanna Pinsky, a founder of Art Encounter; and Community Leadership Person of the Year was Keith Terry, founder and CEO of the Terry Performance Group.

Also recognized by the Chamber for their service were outgoing Board members Carl Ginsberg, Autobarn; Alex Nabi, Hilton Orrington/Evanston; Bob Reece, Reece Insurance and Financial Services; and Barbara Schwarz, Nature’s Perspective Landscaping, Inc.

“The thing that’s special about this event is that it gathers a lot of our membership to thank everybody that participated in the prior year, and then to continue the energy moving forward,” said Evanston Chamber Executive Director Linda Larkin.

Seven new Board members were welcomed by 2018 Chamber President Dale Bradley: Mohammed Ali, Alim Insurance Brokerage; Dan Bulf, Canal Shores Golf Course; Paula Danoff, Evanston Art Center; Kenneth Jones, Presence Saint Francis Hospital; Jackie Mack, Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty; Larry Murphy, YoFresh Yogurt Café; and Barry Rubin, Hilton Orrington/Evanston.

“We want to be sure that we have people on the Board that are representative of the community as a whole,” said Ms. Larkin, who emphasized the importance of including not-for-profit organizations and neighborhood businesses.

The mission of the Evanston Chamber is to promote and grow business in Evanston. In addition to Mr. Bradley, the Chamber’s executive committee members are President-elect Monique Jones, Evanston Community Foundation; Immediate Past President Jim Schermerhorn, Schermerhorn & Co.; Vice President Angela Valavanis, Creative Coworking; and Treasurer Michael Corr, First Bank & Trust.

The sold-out event included a sit-down dinner and silent auction, where Chamber members and guests had the opportunity to network and socialize while bidding on items donated by 55 business and not-for-profit partners.

Heidi Randhava

Heidi Randhava is an award winning reporter who has a deep commitment to community engagement and service. She has written for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.