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Greetings from the Chairman

Annual Meeting 25 v4Rich Gamble

Chairman of the Board of Directors

Chief Operating Officer, Chicago Zoological Society

January 2019

Dear Members,

It has been an honor to serve as the Chairman of your Board of Directors. My goal these past two years was to increase The Magnificent Mile Association’s public profile and prominence with local opinion leaders, elected officials, and key stakeholders.  Our economic clout in the City of Chicago is undeniable and by measuring and communicating the impact we make, we continue to advocate for you – the member from a stronger position.

In order to remain top-of-mind with elected officials and civic leaders, I worked with Association staff to compile the latest contacts for area Aldermen, making it possible to personalize important communications in an effective and timely manner.  We invited elected officials to Association events, and have seen significantly, increased attendance as a result.  In fact, I encourage you to attend the upcoming Annual Meeting of the Membership on Tuesday, February 12 at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago and to be on the lookout for your representatives!

The fact is, we employ hundreds of thousands of people in Chicago. This assessment comes after receiving employment data from just 60 of our 700-member businesses, those that have responded to our audit to date. I urge all members to report employee counts, because as this number grows so does our influence in political discourse.  Our tourism members also help to ensure that we continue to employ great talent. The Association partnered with several organizations to produce workforce development events known as Hospitality Hires.  New hires, as a result of this initiative, continue to be the best ambassadors of The Magnificent Mile experience.

Of course, I could not have accomplished these goals without the support of our dedicated Board of Directors.  Board Members served as hosts and goodwill ambassadors at Association events, they built stronger relationships with elected officials and other stakeholders and conveyed to them - our key messages. Engagement at the board level is up and I will be pleased to welcome even more accomplished and talented executives to our Board at this year’s Annual Meeting.

I cannot emphasize enough the important role of the Association staff in moving this agenda forward – responding quickly and efficiently to members’ requests, advising on new business developments, and proactively seeking opportunities to increase the Association’s profile in the community.

For all of this to have happened, communication is and will always be key. Incoming Chairman Rich Gamble of Brookfield Zoo/Chicago Zoological Society shares this view and like me, will be accessible to our membership via a dedicated email address, chairman@themagnificentmile.com.  It is why I encourage you to continue reaching out to your board leadership directly with your questions, concerns, and ideas on how we can better serve our constituents.

I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting where we will come together to review our successes in 2018 and look to our future with both our new and renewed leadership.  Cheers to our ongoing success and continued growth and prosperity on The Magnificent Mile!

Sincerely,

Rick Simon
Chairman of the Board of Directors

December 2018

Dear Members,

The lights along North Michigan Avenue were lit to the cheers of one million visitors last month at The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. As we wrap up the event, repeat airings of the parade bring the magic to 91% of the United States—including all top 50 markets—on ABC and affiliate television networks through the new year.

The impact of the Lights Festival is a national showcase for The Magnificent Mile, bringing millions more tourists to the district year-round. Our charge remains to “Share the Light” with the community, as the lights remain up on the avenue through March 1. So be sure to bring family and friends down to enjoy for yourself!

Truthfully, our success year-round would not be possible without Association members and hundreds of volunteers in the community sharing of their time and expertise to support The Magnificent Mile district. In turn, Association staff and leadership are committed to greater advocacy for our constituents into 2019.

As evidence of this, last month, we welcomed Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to address Association members on issues of safety and security ahead of the busy Holiday shopping season. The very next day, we heard directly from several of the State’s Attorney’s senior staff members to start implementing a dedicated program for The Magnificent Mile district—to address our specific concerns around crime, both on the public way and in stores and facilities. As a result of an ongoing dialogue and extraordinary cooperation, I am pleased to report increased efforts beginning first thing in the new year that will reflect our needs.

The Magnificent Mile is one of the Great Avenues of the World, and it has been my pleasure as Chairman to be sure we remain a top travel destination for all seasons. Certainly, the Lights Festival brings clout to the Association: this event signals the start of the holiday shopping season, and it is welcomed with great excitement from coast to coast and beyond. We will continue to leverage our position as leaders in the community in the new year—first and foremost to advocate for you, our members.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All,

Rick Simon
Chairman of the Board

October 2018

Dear Members,

I am excited to announce the re-launch of TheMagnificentMileAssociation.com. Be sure to visit our totally re-designed Association website, which makes it easier than ever to connect with fellow members and register for upcoming networking events. We will feature all members in our enhanced Member Directory, which drives web visits and personal referrals to your business.

Moving forward, the Association will continue its efforts to serve members with expanded digital marketing opportunities, while ensuring The Magnificent Mile remains a great place to visit, work, and reside.

Member events continue to offer diverse opportunities for professional development—and to connect with one another in greater numbers. Just last week, we welcomed seven City Aldermen to our Fall Member Luncheon, along with three high-ranking Chicago Police officers. Our keynote featured Tom Ricketts, Chairman of the Chicago Cubs. Elected officials, alongside those who work closely with City government to drive key developments, provide us a roadmap for improvements in our own District.

Successful development requires a steady workforce, and the Association is pleased to partner once again for the 3rd Hospitality Hires Chicago (HHC) event. Working with Chicago’s premier workforce agencies, Hospitality Hires Chicago provides employers with an opportunity to take a strategic approach to finding skilled workers and for job seekers to get access to employment. You can access an employer questionnaire here; and the deadline for submitting this information is Monday, October 8.

Meanwhile, the Association continues to provide information to member businesses on best practices for mass gatherings in the district, including how and when to alert authorities. You can find a Security Preparedness Bulletin from the Chicago Police Department here [LINK]. Please reach out to Association staff with any other questions or concerns. As always, we are here to help!

Sincerely,

Rick Simon
Chairman of the Board

September 2018

Dear Members,

We advocate year-round for your business or property—please help us help you! As we wind down from a successful summer and prepare for the busy Holiday season ahead, we are here to assist you when you need guidance with permitting, graffiti removal, repair of conditions on the public way, and much more. I want to remind you that you have a voice and our support for matters impacting your business or property. 

Our businesses create hundreds of thousands of jobs and contribute billions of dollars to the City and State, making it possible for them to meet their obligations. In turn, The Magnificent Mile Association maintains crucial connections to City officials on behalf of our members.

Just recently, our Planning Director fielded a concern at a major property regarding a street closure that would impact loading dock access. We worked with Alderman Hopkins to determine how best to proceed with the development project while still providing limited access to support the building tenants.

We also advocated for a historic hotel just off The Magnificent Mile to expedite repairs to a broken curb by working with Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT). On the flip side, we advocated for another hotel that receive no advanced knowledge of a resurfacing project outside their entrance—and provided the latest information to them via the Alderman’s office.

We have also addressed the condition of alleyways adjacent to Streeterville office buildings at the request of the property manager; and even the condition of the landmark DuSable Bridge.

In the past few months, several members have reached out regarding panhandling, peddlers, solicitors, street performers, and more. We are a trusted source of information on City ordinances and codes, which is compiled in this Use of the Public Way Guide [LINK to PDF].

Please never hesitate to reach out to the Association’s Planning & Advocacy Division. Key contact information for Advocacy matters, including legislative issues follows:

Phil Levin, Planning Director; (312) 344-2318; plevin@themagnificentmile.com

John Chikow, President and CEO; (312) 344-2323; jchikow@themagnficentmile.com

Rick Simon, Chairman of the Board; (312) 642-3570;  chairman@themagnficentmile.com

We look forward to hearing from you and to providing information and support.  We thank you for your continued partnership.

Sincerely,

Rick Simon
Chairman of the Board of Directors

 

August 2018

Dear Members,

The Magnificent Mile Association is pleased to announce it will once again play a leading role in its partnership with other downtown business associations to conduct another Hospitality Hires Chicago employment event.
 
The next event is scheduled for Wednesday, September 19 at the Palmer House Chicago.  At this all-day event, representatives from approximately 50 businesses will interview hire-ready candidates for quality jobs in the retail, hotel, restaurant, attractions, and services sectors.  

The program is very successful.  Each of the last two Hospitality Hires Chicago events resulted in job offers to several hundred individuals from all areas of the city. To date, 909 individuals have participated and 527—58 percent—have received a job offer from a prominent downtown or Magnificent Mile hotel, restaurant, retailer or service provider.

As an employer, we encourage you to consider participating in the next Hospitality Hires Chicago event.  Please click here for a link for more information about the program and to sign up for the event.

Thanks to you, our valued members, our businesses create hundreds of thousands of jobs and employ people that live in all areas of the City and metropolitan Chicago.  Our businesses also contribute billions of dollars to the City, County and State, making it possible for government to meet its obligations.

As a result, a primary goal for my term as Chairman has been to ensure our organization’s long-established position of prominence and strength is not only maintained; but that we communicate effectively to our elected-officials so they understand how the decisions they make today - affect our member businesses and the people they employ now and into the future.  

That is why we will continue to work hard to advance the mission of The Magnificent Mile Association through accelerated advocacy for our members and programs like Hospitality Hires Chicago.  By striving to increase the Association’s public profile, we will help to ensure more favourable business conditions for you - our member businesses.

On behalf of the Association staff and leadership, I thank you for your continued support of our organization and programs like Hospitality Hires Chicago. If you have any additional questions, suggestions, or concerns, please reach out to me directly. [chairman@themagnificentmile.com]

Sincerely,

Rick Simon
Chairman of the Board of Directors

 

July 2018

Dear Members,

Our Summer of Public Art is in full swing, and I hope you have had the opportunity to see the more than 50 individually-designed lighthouse sculptures lining The Magnificent Mile—if not in person, then in the media. Our June 19 launch of Lighthouses on The Magnificent Mile was attended by dignitaries including Illinois Supreme Justice Anne Burke; and was covered on ABC, NBC, CBS, and more in the days since. Learn more about this philanthropic campaign and be sure to follow along and post with #magmilelighthouses.

Next month, I am thrilled to welcome back the K9s for Cops, a public art campaign to memorialize our city’s heroes while supporting the families of police officers that have been killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty. Various canine and horse sculptures will be on display from August 19 to September 30, including two special sculptures dedicated to the memory of Commander Paul Bauer. The campaign received international media coverage and widespread attention on social media in 2017, and some sculptures have become permanent fixtures along The Magnificent Mile.

In fact, there are more than 50 permanent pieces of public art around The Magnificent Mile district, and the Association’s multiple Public Art Walks were just featured on ABC 7 Chicago. If you or your guests are in search of a unique, walkable experience, I encourage you to utilize the online guide at TheMagnificentMile.com to explore the variety of works that pay homage to Chicago and its history.

Spot the art and see the sights from the water during The Magnificent Mile Association’s Summer Cruise on Tuesday, August 28 aboard Chicago’s Leading Lady. And then save the date on Thursday, September 27 for a true Chicago experience, as we welcome Tom Ricketts as our featured speaker at the Fall Member Luncheon. I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event—our out for a summer walk to see the art!

Sincerely,

Rick Simon
Chairman of the Board of Directors

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For more information, please contact:

Rick Simon

Chairman of the Board of Directors

   chairman@themagnificentmile.com    312 6423570