The Evanston Chamber of Commerce recognizes the accomplishments and outstanding contributions of members to their business and the community. This year, winners were announced at the virtual Annual Celebration on February 5, 2021.
Businessperson of the Year
This award honors an individual who has:
- actively participated and served as a leader in Evanston Chamber activities;
- demonstrated how business volunteerism can better the community and the Chamber;
- exemplified a long-term commitment to their business and community;
- and displayed innovation and/or entrepreneurialism along with business growth.
“We started eight years ago out of our home kitchen. We actually started with two catering companies: one was Feast & Imbibe and the other was Soul & Smoke. We wanted to separate the brands because people were asking for food to go. We’ve had the Soul & Smoke food truck for about six months now and it’s been great.”Chef D’Andre Carter
Community Leadership Person of the Year
Recognizes an individual who has demonstrated the ability to make Evanston a better place for its people and its institutions through:
- personal involvement and enthusiasm in a variety of civic and/or service organizations;
- innovation, commitment, and leadership;
- inspiring others to become involved;
- channeling private sector resources; efforts in improving the quality of life in the community;
- and connecting people and organizations to create community partnerships.
This year’s winner is Meleika Gardner, Talk Show Host and Producer at Evanston Live TV.
“The reason why I do Evanston Live TV is because it’s a vehicle for service to the people of Evanston. It’s a platform where they can tell us of their celebration, of a business opening, or being appointed as a city official. It’s a platform where people can voice their concerns, their issues, whatever is going on in their life, in their community.”Meleika Gardner
NonProfit/Public Service Person of the Year
Acknowledges an individual who has distinguished themselves in the public and/or non-profit sectors by demonstrating innovation, commitment, and leadership; working to advance Evanston and the organization they represents; responding to opportunities with creativity and efficiency; and creating awareness for their organization and its benefits to the Evanston community.
This year’s winner is Monique Jones former President and CEO of Evanston Community Foundation (ECF).
“I’m humbled to be recognized for this honor. I accept it on behalf of the entire non-profit community. Thank you to ECF, the board, and staff. It’s my hope that we plotted a course where concrete can be poured later.”Monique Jones
See past award winners and watch for announcements in late Fall when you can nominate members. And learn more from the Evanston Roundtable piece, “Evanston Chamber Award Winners Are a Few of the Many Who Make Evanston Proud in a Time of Crisis.”