Amie Zander has been a key player on Devon Avenue and in the success of this retail street. Until 2014, as the Executive Director of West-Ridge Chambers of Commerce, her main responsibility was to ensure that the storeowners and costumers had a safe and welcoming place to operate and visit respectively. Established in the late 1990s, the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to schools, businesses and residences in the area. It also provides members of the community with workshops, classes and marketing assistance as well as special maintenance to the area by planting flowers, providing snowplows and discarding old signage. Business owners pay a “special tax” so as to avail West-Ridge’s special services.
Amie grew up on the North-side of Chicago and was trained in marketing and public relations. While she was working part-time for a marketing firm, she was charged with contacting various chambers of commerce and non-profits in the area. Through this assignment she was introduced to West ridge. Amie was neither from this community nor entirely familiar with the culture of the people living there. Amie attended Catholic school throughout the 12 years of school. Because of her schooling her exposure to Muslims, Hindus and Jews were extremely limited. It was, therefore, a great challenge for her to get to know the people and the community she would be representing, a challenge she welcomed wholeheartedly.
Currently she serves as the Executive Director of the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce.
Text by Holland Dvorak and Niyati Naik
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