The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, at its Annual Meeting this morning, announced that
the winner of the 2017 James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award is Wendy Serrino,
President of North Shore Exchange. The Tyree Award goes annually to a small business owner
who has demonstrated growth, job creation and philanthropic values. It includes a $50,000
cash prize to fuel further business growth. North Shores Exchange donates 100% of its profits to charity, totaling nearly $1 million since their inception.
“Mr. Tyree wanted to encourage small businesses to grow and thrive and to create jobs in
Chicagoland while doing good at the same time. We hope we would have made him proud,”
said Wendy Serrino. “Winning the James Tyree Award is great for both North Shore Exchange
as well as the Chicago region. As we grow our sales, we will funnel all of our profits to improve
outcomes for Chicagoland residents living at the poverty level.”
Theresa E. Mintle, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, said “We are
proud of Wendy and impressed with the business success and philanthropy of North Shore
Exchange. In a field full of innovative and driven applicants, Wendy's track record and vision for
the future stood tallest.” Mintle also noted pride in the Chicago-area business community as a
whole.” The $50,000 prize provided by sponsors Mesirow Financial and The PrivateBank
exemplifies the business ecosystem the Chamber cultivates. Our small, mid-sized, and largest
members all support one another. They know that making connections with every level of the economy is good for their individual companies and the region's general business environment.”
The 6th Annual James Tyree Award competition began in March with dozens of applicants. Twelve advanced to a “Shark Tank”-style pitch event in April, where a panel of judges and a voting audience narrowed the field to six. Three businesses were chosen as finalists after individual meetings with the Tyree judging panel. They were:
North Shore Exchange was chosen as the winner after each finalist individually made a final pitch and fielded questions from the judges. All three finalists were recognized at the Chamber's 113th Annual Meeting.
The Chicagoland Chamber and Mesirow Financial launched the James 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. The PrivateBank became a sponsor in 2016 and made it possible to double the prize to $50,000.