News Template43rd Cohort of Leadership Academy Announced


Leadership Academy Runs August 27 – November 19

(AURORA, IL, AUGUST 27, 2021) – The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the 18-member cohort for Leadership Academy, its prestigious academy focused on personal and professional development of participants through both personality inventory and leadership development, is set to return in the fall of 2021.
Leadership Academy is offered to representatives of businesses and organizations in the greater Aurora region. Participants will get a front-row seat to the unique positioning and potential of the Aurora region through presentations, discussions, facility tours and business networking access. The cohort will begin with an orientation in August and then start a nine-month curriculum in September that focuses on developing leadership skills and understanding contemporary issues in higher education. 
“With a long, rich history, Leadership Academy is a true institution here in the Aurora region. It’s why we are so thrilled to be bringing it back this year,” said Jessica Linder Gallo, President & CEO of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. “The list of past graduates is impressive, and the Aurora Regional Chamber stands ready to usher in a new class. I look forward to what the participants of the 2021 Leadership Academy will accomplish here in the Aurora region.”
The Leadership Academy 2021 cohort includes:

  • Michele Bergeron, Director of Resource Development, Fox Valley United Way
  • Kristin Briese, Marketing Specialist, SERVPRO of Aurora
  • Tyler Carlson, Graduate Admission Counselor, Aurora University
  • Alex Donelson, Fox Metro Water Reclamation District
  • Colleen Doyle, Director of Member Engagement, Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Becki Drake, Project Manager, Fox Valley Developers
  • Drea Flores, Business Librarian, Aurora Public Library
  • Arelis Flores, Marketing Director, Plum Landing Retirement Community
  • Sue Glavan, Fox Metro Water Reclamation District
  • Joe Gordon, Old Second National Bank - S. River St.
  • Johnna Hollis, Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley
  • Heather Johnson, Director of Fitness Programming, Rush Copley Medical Center
  • Aaron Miller, Regonal Manager, Community Affairs, Nicor Gas
  • Tracy Norton, Community Manager    Springs at Orchard Road
  • Joy Sanders, Admissions Manager, Waubonsee Community College
  • Martin Shanahan, Chief Community Services Officer, City of Aurora - Development Services
  • Jose Zambrano, Program Coordinator, Central States SER
  • Diane Zimmerman, General Manager, Coffman Truck Sales, Inc.
Consisting of 30 hours of class time, over the course of 10 sessions plus an orientation/kick off and a graduation luncheon, this year's Leadership Academy curriculum will focus on the leadership skills and the strength of and connection to our community. Specifically, the curriculum will highlight discussions on community and economic development, sustainability, local government, cultural diversity, and civil and social services. Dr. William A. "Bill" Marzano, retired higher education administrator with Waubonsee Community College and retired professor, will serve as facilitator for Leadership Academy.
Leadership Academy Lineup
After a hiatus in 2020 due to COVID-19, the first in the program’s 42 year history, Leadership Academy transitions to the autumn from the springtime in 2021. Enrollment for the Leadership Academy will open on June 1 with orientation starting on Friday, August 27.
About Leadership Academy
Established in 1979, the Aurora Chamber’s Leadership Academy has a rich history of providing confidence, knowledge, professionalism, and strong leadership skills that not only benefit the attendee but also their employers. The goal is simple: to create a development opportunity for participants to serve and enhance themselves, their employers, and the community.
Over the past 42 years, more than 800 community leaders have participated in the program. Graduates of the program have gone on to lead local businesses and organization, some have gone on to public office, and all have left their mark on the community.
About the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce
The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is the voice of and the catalyst for business success. We unite businesses with the community to create economic prosperity while facilitating connections with community leaders. For more than 100 years, we have served the greater Aurora region across four counties (DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will), and currently represent nearly 600 businesses. We have earned the 5-star accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an honor bestowed on only 1% of Chambers nationwide. Learn more at