Lisa Gilbert, who was serving as interim president of the Schaumburg Business Association, was named to the organization's top spot Friday.
The Schaumburg Business Association's board of directors conducted an executive search to assure a thorough understanding of the competitive landscape. In the end, it was Gilbert's wealth of technical knowledge and deep portfolio of experience that earned her the nod, the organization said.
"I'm thrilled beyond belief," Gilbert said Friday afternoon while talking about the job. She said the local business community is poised for success. "I'm excited to strive onward and upward and watch the businesses succeed," she said.
Gilbert replaces Kaili Harding-Kaminski, who stepped down as president in May after serving in that role for about six years.
Gilbert, 38, has worked with the 800-company organization for five years.
She and her husband live in Arlington Heights, the community where they met while attending Hersey High School. Her husband, Colin, owns his own law firm in Palatine. And they own Tuscan Market & Wine Shop in Arlington Heights, a wine bar, gastropub and retailer that is also an SBA member. They are raising three boys, 4-year-old twins and a 7-year-old.
During Gilbert's tenure as SBA's vice president of membership, the organization has grown by more than 30 percent, SBA leaders say. The variety of programs offered by the SBA's various committees has expanded, a reflection of the thriving corporate environment in the greater Schaumburg area. Advocacy has blossomed during this time as well, according to the organization.
She said she is looking forward to her new role. "I think about my very first job, helping my father at his manufacturing firm," Gilbert said. "I was 8 years old, but I could already appreciate his entrepreneurial spirit. I think about that strength every day; it leads me to have conversations with businesses of all sizes about how they do business and what a chamber such as the SBA can do as their advocate."
She speaks highly of the membership.
"The Schaumburg Business Association's strength lies in its members," Gilbert said. "We represent the second largest economy in the state of Illinois and have the strength and stability our membership deserves. That is a testament to my predecessors, our staff, our board of directors and the Village of Schaumburg. Because we are strong and stable, we are also nimble enough to shape and mold our services -- always improving, always staying relevant to our members as they grow and our membership grows."
Looking ahead, she said the 2019 strategic plan will bring greater clarity to programing with regard to different market segments, business sizes and levels of management represented in the SBA membership. "There will be new outlets and services for small businesses. There will be new channels for the leadership of larger corporations to connect," she said. "Decision-makers will have even better, more direct access to one another. It's certainly about generating leads and opportunities, but a greater emphasis will be brought to deeper collaborations."