Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce and Dominican University’s Brennan School of Business have partnered to create the 2020 Professional Development Program. 

Open to all types of business professionals, the program consists of six professional development sessions taught by Brennan professors.

“A lot of people don’t know the incredible resource that is Dominican University,” said Liz Holt, OPRF Chamber executive director. “They’ve got so many amazing things happening there and the in-house faculty talent is incredible.”

Session topics include marketing, cash flow management, and constructive conflict among others. The program starts in January and ends in October, with a session roughly once a month. Depending on the time of the session, breakfast or lunch will be provided.

Senator Don Harmon and Representative Emanuel “Chris” Welch, as well as the Oak Economic Development Corporation and Downtown Oak Park, have endorsed the program.

“What’s unique about this program is that we are offering member pricing to any member of any chamber of commerce,” Holt said. “If you’re a member of the Forest Park chamber, the Berwyn chamber, or the Maywood chamber, Austin, wherever – you can still come along to this program and get member pricing.”

People can purchase individual sessions for $30 for members of any chamber of commerce. Non-members pay $45 for individual sessions. Chamber members can attend all six sessions in a package deal for $199. The package price for non-members is $299. 

The program isn’t about increasing the OPRF Chamber of Commerce membership but expanding the growth opportunities available to the business community. 

“We want to provide those connections and become this essential resource to small businesses,” said Jenny Yang, who handles the OPRF chamber’s marketing and brand communication. 

“So many small business owners go into business because they have expertise or a passion for women’s running or boutique coffee or whatever, but that doesn’t mean that they then understand cashflow, overhead, taxes, minimum wage, hiring and firing,” said Holt.

 She continued, “People will come away from each session with three or five to-dos to go back to their office and do right away so that their business can function more securely, or it can function more efficiently.”

Holt wants every chamber to encourage their members to take part in the Professional Development Program, saying, “This is about us investing in the greater chamber community and what chambers offer small businesses.”