The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce 110th Annual Meeting is
about celebrating entrepreneurial success stories like Letty Velez,
Brian Leonard, and Jimmy Odom.
Photo: Letty Velez, CEO of Chicago Mini Bus Travel; Brian Leonard, CEO of Cardio Partner Resources; and Jimmy Odom, Founder and CEO of
Jimmy Odom was in the middle of watching the season finale for Walking Dead, his favorite show of all time, when the phone rang. It was his mom. “Hey Jimmy, I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow,” she said. “I’ve got to get five things from Walgreens. Can you go to the store?”
Jimmy’s first thought was “Man, I would pay someone $10 just so I don’t have to get up right now.”That’s when it clicked. After some quick research, Jimmy discovered, to his astonishment, that there were no companies in the “deliver anything” space. Shortly thereafter, WeDeliver was born.
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s 110th Annual Meeting on June 24 is not only a celebration of the Chamber’s 110th Anniversary; it is a time to recognize and celebrate the small
businesses upon which the foundations of the Chamber and the City of Chicago are built. Jimmy
Odom, Founder and CEO of WeDeliver, is one of countless entrepreneurs and small business owners in the area helping to create jobs and drive the regional economy.
Take Letty Velez, for example. As the CEO of Chicago Mini Bus Travel, she is driven by the fact that she’s a female Latina small business owner in a male-dominated industry. After joining the Chicagoland Chamber through the Goldman Sachs “10,000 Small Businesses” program, she has developed meaningful relationships and made connections with large corporations like Microsoft, which has helped her carve out a meaningful role in Chicago's business community.
“What the Chamber is doing is not like anyone else,” Velez said. “Come in looking for new friends, new relationships and try to find somebody to teach you something, because that’s going to go a long way. If someone can’t do business with you, maybe they can connect you to
someone that can. But build a relationship first, because that’s the value right there.”
Brian Leonard, President and CEO of Cardio Partner Resources, has been a part of the Chamber family since he decided to call Chicago home in 2008. After four years of working as an EMS, he realized that by giving families and businesses simple training in CPR and deploying defibrillators, he could dramatically raise the survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest from 5% to potentially 75%. Since then, his company has taken off and Brian and the Chamber have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship.
“There is no other organization I could be a member or a board member of and get to be mentored by people like Richard Price, get to meet and spend time with people like Glen Tilton, people who have been successful, who have made it in the business world,” said Leonard. “And
they’ll still take time to mentor young entrepreneurs like myself.”
Small businesses are the job creators that drive our regional economy, and through programs and initiatives designed specifically for small businesses, the Chamber is working to help entrepreneurs like Brian, Jimmy and Letty become successful pillars of our business community for years to come.
Why are Letty, Brian and Jimmy attending the 110th Annual Meeting?
Velez: “I’m going because I know that this is going to give me opportunities to meet other people and to introduce myself to others so that they’re aware of Chicago Mini Bus Travel. Through the
Chamber, I’ve started to build some really fabulous relationships.”
Leonard: “I’m going because the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in our growth and is one of the single reasons why our company is where it is today.”
Odom: “I’m going because the Chamber offers a direct connection into the communities. WeDeliver is a platform that connects the local business owners with their local residents. The
Chamber represents the local business owner, and the local business
owner represents the local neighborhood.”