Chamber Staff

The professional staff of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce works to promote your business, provide programs and activities that will benefit the entire membership, as well as strengthen the business climate of Champaign County.

The Chamber staff is an extension of each member investor’s own professional team.

Laura Weis

Laura E. Weis, IOM, ACE

President & CEO
LauraW@champaigncounty.org

Joined the Chamber Staff: 1999

Role at the Champaign County Chamber:

While there is a formal job description that includes language like “responsible for establishing and executing the mission and vision of the Chamber under the direction of the board of directors and is responsible for the supervision and control of the business affairs of the chamber including day-to-day operation, staff supervision, organizational image, membership relations, etc …”. I would submit that my role is overseeing the controlled chaos of talented staff; learning new and interesting things everyday from really smart chamber members and “other duties as assigned.”

Favorite childhood book:

As a child, any book by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As a pre-teen Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Favorite food:

Any food brought to me that I did not have to prepare.

Favorite Chamber event/program:

I am a big believer that all of the Chamber programs should be aligned with the Chamber mission. When you develop programs simply to generate revenue, you run the risk of mission creep. Having said that, my favorite event is the one that probably the hardest to tie back to our mission – the annual golf outing. We can claim that it is an opportunity to “network” or that deals get done on the course, but the reality is, it is just a day of good fellowship between people who support their association. There are no agendas, it is light hearted and there is something to be said for just kicking back once in a while and not taking life too seriously.

If you could possess any super power what would it be?

Time travel.

Rock, Paper, or Scissors?

Laser gun blaster.

Music preferences?

It’s all over the music spectrum. I have everything from Broadway musical music to Michael Buble to Bruce Springsteen to Human to Pink to Adele to Bruno Mars to Janis Joplin to Hank Williams Jr. to Led Zepplin to Flo Rida. You get the picture. It’s variety to fit my variety of moods.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

It was something my dad said to me once, when agonizing or stressing over a situation that seems like it is the worst thing in the world at the moment; ask yourself “Will this matter in 3-months?”

What I have found is that almost always, the answer is no. So I try to put a stressful situation into perspective and move on.

Karly Combest

Mindy Cain

Director of Workforce Readiness & Member Relations
MindyC@champaigncounty.org

Joined the Chamber Staff
February 2017

Role at the Champaign County Chamber:

Although I am new to the Chamber, I am thrilled to be working with the team to make a difference in the community. Providing the area with a skilled workforce will be a win-win for both the young people entering into the workforce and for the local businesses, and I’m excited to be a part of it. I am also looking forward to meeting with the members to discuss how the Chamber can help them to reach their business goals.

Favorite childhood book:

I was in a book of the month club beginning in kindergarten and loved Dr. Suess books, The Adventures of Babar, Grimm Fairy Tales, and anything I could get my hands on. Now I enjoy e-books from the Apple store and have hundreds of romantic comedies on file…Who doesn’t like a good laugh and a little romance?

Favorite food:

I have to admit, I’m a junk food junkie and could exist on tacos, chicken wings, pizza, and corn dogs! But, I’m also famous with my family and friends as an accomplished cook and enjoy spending weekends making homemade meals, grilling and smoking meats, and whipping up gourmet dishes.

Favorite Chamber event/program:

I was an international meeting planner at my previous employer, so I know I am going to enjoy each and every event held by the Chamber. I love to be a part of the action and to socialize, meet new people, establish relationships, and to foster education and growth experiences for the meeting/event participants.

If you could possess any super power what would it be?

Samantha Stevens of the “Bewitched” TV show kind of power. Oh to be able to snap my fingers and twitch my nose and make things happen!

Rock, Paper, or Scissors?

Paper. I usually win with this one!

Music preferences?

I love music…with different kinds of music for different times and moods. Music is always on at our house and we listen to a variety of genres: electronic dance/house music, blues, alternative, Latino pop, hip-hop, and jazz. If I had to pick one, it would have to be the EDM/house music.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

My 90 year old mother is one smart lady! She always helped me put things in perspective:

“Don’t spend your time and energy fretting about the past, as that ship has sailed. Don’t waste your time by worrying about tomorrow and what might be, as that hasn’t unfolded yet. Focus on the present and be the best person you can be today.”

Ryan Pea

Dustin Haake

Membership Sales Director
DustinH@champaigncounty.org

Joined the Chamber Staff: August  2017

Role at the Champaign County Chamber:

My role is to grow the Chamber membership base while helping current and prospective members learn how best to utilize the Chamber and its programs. I am excited to learn more about our local businesses as we work to provide solutions and resources that make Champaign County an ever better place to live and work.

Favorite childhood book:

Cabin on Trouble Creek

Favorite food:

Steak

Favorite Chamber event/program:

ACE Leadership Program

If you could possess any super power what would it be?
Healing

Rock, Paper, or Scissors?

Rock

What’s on your iPod/phone?

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Robert Earl Keene, 90’s Country, Queen are some I can think of but I really listen to all music.

What is the best advice you have ever received?
"Do what you said you would do."

Ryan Roth

Garret Hill

Public Policy Director
GarretH@champaigncounty.org

Joined the Chamber Staff: January 2015

Role at the Champaign County Chamber:

My duties are to monitor local, state, and federal policies for any current or potential rules and regulations that impact businesses in Champaign County.  Once the issues are identified, policy positions need to be formulated in a manner that I can act as an advocate for our local business community with our elected officials.

Favorite childhood book:

I owned every book in the Goosebumps series.

Favorite food:

Anything I can make on the grill.

Favorite Chamber event/program:

Champaign County First (CC1).  While Champaign County is already a beacon for businesses and job creators in the Midwest, there is so much potential to grow.  CC1 can help our county grow in ways we never thought possible, spurring economic growth and improving our overall quality of life.

If you could possess any super power what would it be? Teleportation.

Rock, Paper, or Scissors? Rock.

What’s on your iPod/phone?

The two playlists I have programmed are 90s which goes from Alanis Morissette to Nirvana to Seven Mary Three and my workout playlist which starts off with Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

People are going to hate you for merely existing; we have to help them anyway.

Caryn Isenhower

Caryn Isenhower

Accounts Receivable & Office Administrator
Caryni@champaigncounty.org

Joined the Chamber Staff: March 2013

Role at the Champaign County Chamber:

I am the Accounts Receivable Manager and Office Administrator for the Chamber. I process member billing and apply payments/adjustments to their accounts. I try to keep the member database as up-to-date as possible and also manage the office in regards to copiers, postal, supplies, etc. I also coordinate with our accounting firm in regards to A/P and periodic posting. I am in charge of entering events in our software, entering event registrations, and processing those invoices/payments and sending them out. If you ever have any questions or concerns regarding your account, I am the one to contact.

Favorite childhood book:

I didn’t like to read a lot but I do remember my dad always telling me the story of Orley the Cabbage Worm and it was always my favorite.

Favorite food:

Pizza.

Favorite Chamber event/program:

Business After Hours – it is a great way to see and meet the members in a casual and relaxed environment with locations that change each month.

If you could possess any super power what would it be? Precognition.

Rock, Paper, or Scissors?

Rock.

Music preferences?

Everything: pop, rock (old and new), country, Elton John

What is the best advice you have ever received?

When I was young my aunt told me “It takes a big person to admit when you are wrong” and I have always remembered that.

Stephanie McCullough

Stephanie McCullough

Director of First Impressions
StephanieM@champaigncounty.org

Joined the Chamber Staff: September 2015

Role at the Champaign County Chamber:

I am the first person you see coming in and the last person you see on the way out. I like to greet everyone with a warm and friendly welcome and assist in any way that I can.

Favorite childhood book:

Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

Favorite food:

Everything except beets, olives and okra

Favorite Chamber event/program:

Champaign County Chamber’s Annual Meetings

If you could possess any super power what would it be? I would have telekinetic powers! I would never need the remote again!

Rock, Paper, or Scissors?

All three!

What’s on your iPod/phone? My music choice depends on my mood, so it ranges from Betthoven to Beyoncé

What is the best advice you have ever received?

"You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated." -- Maya Angelou

  Lindsay Quick

  Graphic Design and Marketing Director
  LindsayQ@champaigncounty.org

Joined the Chamber Staff: February 2016

Role at the Champaign County Chamber:

Promoting and marketing an organization that provides valuable resources and a voice for the business community is what I do. I am responsible for branding and communicating a consistent image to all members through our online presence, marketing materials, video, publications, social media and more.

Favorite childhood book(s):

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Favorite food:

Mexican food will always hold a special place in my heart. I could literally eat tacos everyday and not get tired of them. Also anything that comes hot off of a (charcoal) grill. Grilling automatically makes food 97% better.

Favorite Chamber event/program:

Annual Meeting - from a marketing standpoint this one is definitely the most fun. Since there is always a really fun and creative theme that ties the whole thing together it is fun to plan the materials around that.

If you could possess any super power what would it be?

I always thought that flying would be a convenient and fun way to get around.

Rock, Paper, or Scissors?

Paper.

What’s on your iPod/phone?

Just about anything that you can imagine. I love music and going to concerts so what I'm listening to usually depends on what kind of mood I'm in. I like anything from Maroon 5 to Eric Church to The Eagles to One Direction to Fleetwood Mac - the list could go on for days.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

To thrive in life you need three bones: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone

 Ariel Short

 Events and Programs Manager
 ArielS@champaigncounty.org

Joined the Chamber Staff
February 2016

Role at the Champaign County Chamber:

As the Events and Programs manager, my role is to organize and execute all events sponsored by the Chamber. From First Friday Coffee to the Annual Meeting, and everything in between, I’ll be there! I love this position because you get to be extremely creative and work with so many different people. The greatest thing about Chamber events is that they generate wonderful connections between our members, while also highlighting the success and accomplishments of various businesses in the community.

Favorite childhood book:

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White and Corduroy by Don Freeman

Favorite food:

I can't pick just one! I love pasta, bread, mashed potatoes, pizza (particularly Monical's), and sushi.

Favorite Chamber event/program:

I would say the Golf Outing. It is a whole day of fun and getting to interact with the members who we don’t always get a chance to on a day to day basis. It is a great day for networking, relaxing, and just an all-around good time.

If you could possess any super power what would it be?

Being able to teleport. Wouldn’t that be nice to never have to drive, fly, or worry about how long it will take to get somewhere or how much money you will have to spend on transportation again?

Rock, Paper, or Scissors?

Rock

What’s on your iPod/phone?

I listen to a variety of music, but my two favorite genres are 80’s Hairbands like Aerosmith, Guns N Roses, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi, as well as country music like Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, and George Strait. However, I will listen to about anything depending on my mood!

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Something that my mom once told me: "Choose happiness. Life and love and friends are tough. Accept change. Life goes on. Have a grateful heart for what you have and value those who care about you. Stay positive. Rejoice in all of your blessings. You have a lot to be happy about."