Hinsdale Chamber President Eva Field
By Larry Atseff
Successful sports teams, amateur, and pro, often rely on standouts that propel them as winners. When you watch ducks on a pond, they’re just gliding along on the surface, while underneath their webbed feet are pedaling furiously. Then, there is the Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce. Without drawing attention to itself, the Chamber operates like a fine watch or an appliance you can always rely upon. It just quietly does its job in a small office above the Nabuki restaurant on First Street. The beneficiaries are, of course, chamber members themselves, the village itself, as well as the residents and visitors. If you know Eva Field, President, the Chamber is an apt reflection of her smooth, organized approach. It makes sense when you learn about her. She grew up in Dolton and helped her parents and siblings raise 24 Arabian horses, 72 cattle, and a few chickens and hogs in the little town of Valton, Wisconsin near the Dells. When you grow up on a farm, everyone has jobs to do. She said, “I had a great upbringing. We had fun, but we also learned the responsibility it takes to raise animals. I was so impressed by the athleticism of horses, I went to college for an associate degree in animal science.
I learned every aspect of raising, breeding and training horses, to teaching people how to ride.” After college, she worked at a horse farm, but little by little, the opportunities with breeding horses didn’t quite work out. She then turned to become a bank teller, among other jobs. She met and married Mike Field in 1981 and then took on the important job of “raising and encouraging two very athletic children in soccer and gymnastics, with all the support that goes into encouraging kids on club teams”. During this period, Mike joined the Hinsdale Chamber in 2000 and became so active, he became President in 2005-2006. Eva said “One day, Mike came home and said there was an opening to be assistant director of the Chamber.
“I truly enjoy working in Hinsdale at the Chamber of Commerce. For the past 18 years, I have had the opportunity to build great relationships with and get to know the businesses, the village, and of course, the community. I love how dedicated the businesses and residents are to their community through their support of the many events that place. Hinsdale… a great place to live and work.”
You would be perfect for the job”. After a 4-hour meeting with then-President Jan Anderson, she was hired in July of 2004. In 14 years she learned every aspect of the job from the ground up and was named President in 2018. It is not an easy job. Think about it. First, there is a large group of business owners who are active with diverse interests. Many are willing to be volunteers, but they expect results. There are village officials she must work with to coordinate events. Then, there are the residents and visitors who want worthwhile activities that are to their benefit. In other words, you have to keep activities and events, fresh, worthwhile… and well run to keep everybody interested and willing to participate. You know the old saying, you can lead horses to water, but you can’t make’em drink. Eva has learned how to use her “reins” to keep the various horses in town in general agreement and moving in the right direction. She’s learned how to be effective by using all the skills she gained in training horses and educating herself about them… a combination of gentle persuasion, listening, keeping things organized, and keeping everyone informed. On top of all that, has an amazing ability to remember names. Uniquely Thursdays, the live entertainment, food and drink event during June-August, the Fine Arts Festival, the Farmer’s Market (June- October) and the Christmas Walk; all run without a hitch. A tweak here and there keeps them fresh as time goes by. The Chamber has added two Sidewalk Sales. And, in 2019, the Chamber has added a Wine Walk. Eva will be the first to admit that this is not a one-woman show.
Besides business people who give of their time expertise, she says, “We get a lot of cooperation and coordination with village officials and the police department.” Naturally, she says, “I have two great team members to help, like Amanda Wagner, Marketing Director and Special Events and Ingrid Wittwer, Membership Director. In addition, I have an excellent board of directors made up of interested business-people…again all volunteer.” On top of all these activities, she has helped the members improve their personal skills in managing their businesses. She enlisted the support of consultant David Anderson in offering “Heroes”, a regular seminar where participants are challenged in improving their leadership skills. In addition, working with the Fox Valley Score group, members have been able to attend seminars and lectures on everything from improving their accounting skills to building better websites. In other words, as the Chamber Mission Statement says, “Connecting business through community leadership, opportunity, and involvement.” Looking at it all, Eva comments, “I truly enjoy working in Hinsdale at the Chamber of Commerce. For the past 18 years, I have had the opportunity to build great relationships with and get to know the businesses, the village, and of course, the community. I love how dedicated the businesses and residents are to their community through their support of the many events that place. Hinsdale…a great place to live and work.” In other words, dear reader, you can take a bow yourself.
*Photos by Marcello Rodarte