SECC Symposium

3rd Annual SECC Symposium



South East Chicago Commission (SECC) will host the 3rd annual regional economic development symposium that aligns thinking and action to strengthen the business districts in Chicago’s Southeast lakefront neighborhoods.

The SECC Symposium will convene entrepreneurs, business executives, property owners, investors, financial institutions, policy leaders and practitioners as a diverse, cross-sector community committed to economic vitality.

The SECC’s economic development symposium be held virtually on Saturday, October 9, 2021 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm using a dynamic, interactive platform.  Before, during and after the Symposium, we invite you to share your experience in social media #seccsymposium2021

Please register in advance.  Registration is FREE compliments of our sponsors.  

Countdown to Live Symposium


Featured Conversation

The Keynote Conversation features Melody Spann Cooper, President and CEO, Midwest Broadcasting Corporation, and Louis Carr, President of Media Sales, BET Networks. Melody and Louis will deliberate on the theme “Powering Economic Growth,” with a special focus on insights about leveraging media, identifying contracting opportunities and addressing new employment dynamics for sustainability and long-term growth.

Featured Sessions

Participants will have access to featured panels hosted LIVE online. 

(Sponsored by Seaway and Supported by Lakeside Alliance

The world of procurement has been elusive for many minority- and women-owned businesses. Lack of a supportive network and a clear understanding of process keeps them out of the game.

Industry experts demystify the world of procurement and give insight into the current and upcoming opportunities in their respective areas, how to prepare, and how to take advantage of a multi-billion dollar industry.


Raven DeVaughn, Procurement and Economic Inclusion Strategist


  • Dorval R. Carter, Jr., President, Chicago Transit Authority
  • Jamie Rhee, Commissioner, City of Chicago Department of Aviation
  • Michael Strautmanis, Executive Vice President, The Obama Foundation

(Sponsored by Comcast Business | Comcast NBCUniversal)

Workforce and Economic Development brings together community colleges, offices of economic development, workforce boards, labor market entities, employers, and other organizations to improve the economic prosperity of business, workers, and communities. Together, these partners promote the alignment of priorities, strategies, and resources in response to regional labor market needs.

This workshop will include panelists who will:

  1. Share labor market information, including how to use labor insights to support business and community initiatives
  2. Promote promising best practices for successful public private partnerships
  3. Encourage participation in industry sector partnerships
  4. Identify public and private resources


Phaedra M. Leslie, Director of Business Relations and Economic Development


  • Marisa Lewis, Board Liaison and Chief Policy Officer, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership
  • Irene Sherr, Deputy Bureau Chief, Economic Development, Cook County Government
Expected Attendance
1 +
Business Districts

Special Thanks To Our Sponsors

Lakeside Alliance is a Joint Venture between Powers & Sons Construction Company, UJAMAA Construction Inc., Brown & Momen, Inc., Safeway Construction Company, and Turner Construction Company.

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.