4th Annual SECC Symposium



South East Chicago Commission (SECC), with presenting sponsor Allstate, will host its 4th regional economic development symposium focusing on economic growth and prosperity of small businesses.

The business community continues to face a variety of challenges from inflation and rent increases to concerns about supply chains, the labor market and public safety.

The 2022 SECC Symposium is an independent forum focused on opportunities for business development, changes in the local marketplace, and investments in regional commercial corridors.

Chicago entrepreneurs, business executives, property owners, investors, practitioners and policy leaders were invited to the online Symposium and a celebratory networking reception at Little Black Pearl. #seccsymposium2022

Keynote Conversation

NBC5 Weekday Morning Co-Anchor, Michelle Releford will host the Keynote Conversation “The Art of Transformation: Reimagine, Grow, Sustain” in conversation with Gloria Castillo, Director, We Rise Together at The Chicago Community Trust and LaForce Baker, Vice President, Community Impact at World Business Chicago.

Collaborative investments in Black and Latinx communities are on the rise in Chicago, resulting in cutting edge programs, funding and initiatives that will help strengthen minority owned businesses on the Southside. This conversation will focus on recent investments, research and resources designed to accelerate an equitable economic recovery in the Chicago region. 

1. Featured Session

Serial entrepreneurs are people who can repeatedly turn creative ideas into successful business strategies. This discussion dives into the journey from concept and capital to commercial space and we get insights from local entrepreneurs who have grown existing, well-established businesses and who have successfully expanded into new and exciting concepts.


Sandra Bivens, Executive Director, 51st Street Business Association


2. Featured Session

The anchor session entitled “Procurement Opportunities in Chicago’s New Development engages business owners to learn about contracts and the contracting process for Bally’s Casino, the Bronzeville Lakefront Project (formerly Michael Reese), and the ONE Central Project at McCormick Place.


Phaedra Leslie
Vice President of Diversity, Workforce Development, and Community Engagement, ALL Construction


  • Kimberly MorrisDirector of Real Estate and Community Development, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, Bronzeville Lakefront Project
  • Tracey G. WileyDirector of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Bally’s, Chicago Casino Project

  • Gerri HarrisArea Director of Economic Inclusion, Gilbane Building Company

  • Stuart ZadraExecutive Vice President and Partner, Landmark Development, ONE Central Project /McCormick Place
  • Calmetta Coleman, Chief Operating Officer, Chicago Urban League

II. Networking Reception

South East Chicago Commission invites you to Part II of the 2022 SECC Symposium. This was an opportunity to meet, greet and network in person. Appetizers were provided by Carver 47. Shall We Wine informed and engaged attendees with a wine tasting experience.  

Expected Attendance
Business Districts
1 +

Special Thanks To This Year's Sponsors

SECC is a Neighborhood Business Development Center (NBDC) granted by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.  As an NBDC delegate agency, SECC provides assistance in the development of small businesses in Chicago, serves as liaison between local businesses and the City of Chicago, and delivers local business development services.