Monica Bristow, president of the RiverBend Growth Association, was recognized by her peers at the Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Awards Dinner during the 100th annual Fall Conference Nov. 5.
As a chamber executive, Bristow has been a strong advocate for chamber members and a unified voice for the community. Her involvement does not end with the chamber; it expands throughout the community as a representative and officer of many boards and local organizations.
As IACCE chair, Bristow was instrumental in encouraging board conversations regarding the organization’s role in the development of local chamber staff and recognizing the need to allocate more time and resources to accomplishing the organization’s strategic plan as adopted in 2012. As a result of her willingness to hold difficult discussions with board leadership and Doug Whitley, then president of the Illinois Chamber, Bristow paved the way to formalize the separation of IACCE from the Illinois Chamber.
In the speech given to nominate Bristow, Debbie Arell-Martinez, executive director of the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber, said, “On a daily basis, as the president of the RiverBend Growth Association, Monica juggles the needs of the Chamber of Commerce and the economic development organization for the communities of the Riverbend. Monica is involved in everything from education to legislation to economic development as well as day-to-day operations of the chamber. She works with multiple municipalities, school districts, labor groups, large and small businesses as well as nonprofit organizations. As an economic development organization, she works closely with state, regional, county and local officials to develop new employment opportunities. Monica’s work in the community is unending: serving on the United Way Southwestern Illinois Auxiliary Board, OSF St. Anthony’s Hospital business and professional committee, Madison-Bond Workforce Investment Board, the Rotary of the Riverbend and many other community organizations.”
“The Illinois chamber community is stronger today because of the professionals who lead the way,” said Einar Forsman, president and CEO of the Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce and chairman of IACCE’s board of directors. “I’ve had the pleasure and honor of working with Monica for a number of years. She exemplifies the spirit of the Brann Award.”
The Distinguished Illinois Chamber of Commerce Executive Award was begun in 1991 to recognize the exemplary performance and leadership of Illinois chamber executives within their local chamber, their community and to the chamber profession. The award is named in honor of Lester W. Brann Jr., the first recipient of the award and past president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.