‘I have given my heart and soul’: Executive director of Wilmette-Kenilworth chamber resigns
The Wilmette-Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce is searching for a new leader following the resignation of longtime Executive Director Julie Yusim.
Yusim, whose final day is Feb. 23, said that she is re-entering the world of marketing.
“This incredible opportunity jumped up 100 percent unexpectedly,” she said. “ … I love this chamber and am so passionate about it. I have given my heart and soul to it.”
Yusim was hired as the chamber’s executive director in 2015. It was her second stint in the leadership position after holding it from 2000 through 2009.
Since returning, Yusim has been the only employee at the Wilmette-Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce, which partners with more than 300 local businesses and organizations, according to the chamber’s tax filings.
She said the burden was challenging, and the COVID-19 pandemic magnified it further. She said it was the right time for her to move on.
“I have the opportunity to go to something a little more guaranteed,” she said. “ … The pandemic was a trying time. As you know it took a little bite out of everyone. With his new opportunity, I will have a lot of support. … At this point in my life, I feel like I need to do something potentially a little less stressful.”
The Wilmette-Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit organization governed by a board of directors. In January, the chamber seated a slate of new board members, including president Charles Hutchinson, a Wilmette attorney.
Hutchinson did not immediately return messages from The Record, and the process to replace Yusim is unclear as of press time.
In its regularly emailed newsletter, the chamber included a note about Yusim’s resignation. It reads in part, “We thank Julie for the many wonderful contributions she has made to our Chamber and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.”
While Yusim is moving on, she said she is not going far and hopes to share more about her new endeavor soon.
She said she will working every day with the Wilmette and Kenilworth communities, but hopes to remain involved as much as she can.
“It is so important for me that people know how amazing Wilmette and Kenilworth are,” Yusim said. “I came back here because I love it so much. I love the business community. It’s unique and there are so many opportunities to do interesting and innovative things here that you don’t get everywhere.
“I am the biggest fan and will always be a huge supporter of the chamber and the businesses of Wilmette and Kenilworth.”
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Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319