Recognition for 10,000 Small Businesses

Yesterday, Mayor Emanuel announced the 10,000 Small Businesses initiative. Harold Washington College will host this City Colleges-wide effort to help small businesses grow and hire more workers. Faculty from most CCC colleges are currently participating in their own training to learn about the program and the specific modules they will teach beginning in January.

I was fortunate to be tapped by the Chancellor to lead our efforts on the grant proposal, but as with any large, important effort, it took an amazing team of people to pull this off. I cannot express enough my gratitude to the people who put in countless hours to help us put together, in the words of our funder, one of the best responses and best teams they have ever seen a community college system pull off. Many people may wonder why they are just hearing about this large initiative now. Our funder asked everyone involved in the effort to sign non-disclosure agreements effective until the announcement yesterday, and so we were bound to respect their wishes. If anyone was somewhat guarded in telling you what they were working on, I hope you now understand. I thank all of the participants for respecting our funders wishes – the announcement yesterday was truly a pleasant surprise to many.

First and foremost, I want to thank  Leslie Villasenor and Anita Kelley. When I say countless hours, it was Anita and Leslie who did all of the heavy lifting to pull together a great proposal, organize our teams, and work with our funder. The District owes them a debt of thanks, and we are fortunate to have such committed leaders.

At HWC, it really took a village to make this happen. Playing important roles throughout the effort, up to an including the announcement yesterday, were:

  • George Bickford
  • Sandy Gaona
  • John Hader and the continuing education team
  • David Locke
  • Janice Mason, our housekeeping staff, and the building engineers led by Rich Wren
  • Jo Anne Mason
  • Brandon Pendleton
  • Gabe Razo
  • David Rozell and the security team
This team did a great job of making HWC look good and proved to our funder why CCC was deserving of the grant.
At District, various departments pulled together to respond to tough deadlines and were true partners in this effort. I thank them for their work.
Public Relations/Marketing/Web Development:
  • Audrey Berns
  • Adolfo Cabellero
  • Katheryn Hayes
  • Jay Septoski
  • Heather Shevitz
District HR
  • Juana Arauz
  • Jane Barnes
  • Irene Flores
  • Alison Guengerich
  • Eugene Nichols
  • Patricia Rios
  • Viable Shum
  • Doris Yelvington
District Finance
  • Ray Sanders
  • William Stewart
Office of the General Council
  • Atonio Littleton
  • Jim Reilly
From the start, I was able to work with a great leadership team who advised and guided me as the District sought to win this effort. I thank Mike Davis and Mike Daigler for their hours in advising me, interviewing candidates for our staff, and helping me structure this program. Phyllis Daniels Ward was invaluable in guiding us.

Finally, I thank the other members of our District leadership. It is such a joy to be part of a winning team, including Chairman Cabrera, Chancellor Hyman, Jim Frankenbach, Jaime Guzman, Kojo Quartey, and Alvin Bisarya. And I thank my fellow Presidents who so readily agreed to have their faculty involved even though we could not share the specifics of the program. I owe them all thanks for their trust.

And now, please encourage the small business owners in your own neighborhoods to apply for the program. This initiative will help them grow their businesses and hire more employees – and I hope, hire more CCC students.

Published by Don Laackman

Leader with non-profit, higher education, and private-sector consulting experience.

One thought on “Recognition for 10,000 Small Businesses

  1. Congratulations on this fantastic initiative. It will bring a tremendous benefit to our students, and the community while fortifying the relationship between Chicago’s business community and CCC.

    I look forward to celebrating the success this program will have in the future. Always great to hear wonderful news such as this.

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