2018 James Tyree Business
Leadership Award

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce presents the James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award each year to an entrepreneur or small business in the Chicago region that has demonstrated growth and civic/philanthropic values. The winner of the Tyree Award receives a $50,000 cash prize, courtesy of Mesirow Financial and CIBC, plus business consulting services from the Chicagoland Chamber.

2018 is the 7th year of the Tyree Award. The winner will be announced during the Chicagoland Chamber's 114th Annual Meeting on June 5, 2018.

Tyree Award applications will be accepted through March 25th.

Apply Here


Award Criteria

The winner receives $50,000 in cash courtesy of Mesirow Financial and CIBC, as well as valuable business consulting services from the Chicagoland Chamber.

Qualified applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Operate within the six-county Chicagoland metropolitan area
  • Be in business for a minimum of two years
  • Demonstrate substantial growth over the past two years
  • Generate revenues of at least $500,000 but less than $10 million
  • Have five or more employees, including business owner(s)
  • Be active in local civic or philanthropic initiatives


Previous Winners   

2017 | Wendy Serrino | President, North Shore Exchange


2016 | Sophie Evanoff
President, Vanille

2015 | Neil Byers
Owner, Horse Thief Hollow 


2014 | John Roa
Founder and CEO, ÄKTA

2013 | Jim Alvarez
Founder, Gesture 

About Jim Tyree

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and Mesirow Financial launched the Tyree Award in 2012 in memory of Jim Tyree, who had served as Chairman and CEO of Mesirow Financial, and Chairman of the Chicagoland Chamber. CIBC, then known as The PrivateBank, became a sponsor in 2016 and made it possible to double the prize to $50,000.

During his tenure as Mesirow CEO, Jim led the firm to exceptional levels of growth in all areas of the business. The 50 acquisitions he completed included Stein & Company, a premier real estate organization; the Near North Insurance Brokerage's Chicago office, and Dann Insurance, two leading insurance agencies; and the U.S. Corporate Recovery practice, acquired from KPMG. 

Throughout his career, Jim served on more than 50 corporate, civic and not-for-profit boards of directors. He also served as chairman of Sun-Times Media Holdings, a media firm that published 58 newspapers, including The Chicago Sun-Times, and their corresponding websites. In 2007, Jim was appointed to the board of PrivateBancorp, Inc..

Jim served as Chairman of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce from 2007-2010.