HFMA’s first chapter — fittingly named First Illinois — recently turned 75 and is marking the major milestone with a year-long celebration. And how did they kick things off? With a party, of course.
The event took place July 20 at the Carlucci restaurant in Rosemont, Illinois. Seventy-two attended the celebration, which was part of the Chapter’s annual transition dinner. In addition to speeches by the outgoing and incoming Chapter presidents, award presentations and announcement of college scholarship winners, Rich Schefke, FHFMA, CPA, MAS, a past First Illinois president and the 75th anniversary chair, gave a presentation highlighting the Chapter’s early history and its accomplishments through the years. The evening also featured a recognition of the longest-standing past presidents in attendance.
Schefke, director of financial planning, analysis and decision support for NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health in Arlington Heights, Illinois, said one of the most popular aspects of the evening was a special keepsake book that included chapter highlights as well as reflections from past presidents. During appetizers and networking, one attendee treated it like a yearbook and started collecting signatures. It wasn’t long before others did as well.
“Seeing everyone going around and getting notes and signatures from other attendees was one of my favorite aspects of the event,” said Schefke.
Schefke credited the 75th anniversary committee, a subset of the Chapter’s past presidents committee, with the event’s success. He also noted it was just the start as they’ve planned something for every major Chapter event this year, including a special video montage they’re creating for an event next spring that will feature current and former leaders at all levels sharing what First Illinois means to them.
According to Schefke, the biggest challenge in planning the year-long celebration was finding all the past presidents for the past 25 years, but they did it. He also said getting those who were interested to help drive ideas and plan was key. To that end, he encourages other chapters planning such events to get as many former leaders involved as possible.
“They helped your chapter get to this point, and the passion flame that drove them is still there,” said Schefke. “Just ask!”