Debbie Gurley (left), interim executive director of the St. Charles Area Chamber of Commerce, honored St. Charles Area Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Laura Shaw, publisher of the Shaw Media publications Kane County Chronicle, the Northwest Herald and the Lake County Journal, during the annual membership breakfast at the St. Charles Country Club on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. (Sandy Bressner –

As the chair of the board of directors for the St. Charles Area Chamber of Commerce, Laura Shaw is an advocate for giving business owners the voice they need.

For her efforts, Shaw, the publisher of the Kane County Chronicle along with the Northwest Herald and the Lake County Journal, was presented with the Chairman’s Award during the Chamber’s annual meeting and membership breakfast Nov. 2 at the St. Charles Country Club.

“She stands up for this Chamber, she shows up for this Chamber, she speaks up for this Chamber and she leads bravely for this Chamber,” St. Charles Area Chamber Interim Executive Director Debbie Gurley said before presenting Shaw with the Chairman’s Award.

Shaw said receiving the award was an “absolute surprise.” She was board vice chair before taking over as chairman in August following Gurley being named interim executive director. Gurley previously had been the board chair.

As the board chairman, Shaw said she seeks stability, transparency and communication.

“I’ve enjoyed taking on the leadership role and appreciate the entire board for the support they’ve given me,” she said. “We have a great group and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Shaw said she has seen many positive changes since Gurley stepped into the role of interim executive director.

“I’m looking forward to watching her and the Chamber staff’s ideas unfold,” Shaw said. “We have a great group of committee volunteers that have brought a strong mix of networking and education events to our membership. 2022 marked the 100th anniversary of the Chamber and it has been very exciting to celebrate the past, appreciate the present and look forward to the future.”

Other awards were presented during the annual meeting.

The Rookie of the Year Award went to two members – Thomas Linas, wealth adviser with Masus Financial Group and Vince Fiore, owner of Fiore Builders, Cyclebar & U-le-le Salon.

The Member of the Year Award was presented to Dave Frolicstein, owner of Frolicstein Financial Wealth Management.

During the annual meeting, Gurley talked about the Chamber’s initiatives, including looking at new ways to help nonprofit groups that are Chamber members, as well as enhancing the Chamber’s marketing efforts, including improving the Chamber’s website through the addition of videos, blogs and podcasts.

This month, the Chamber will be spotlighting a different nonprofit group now until Thanksgiving.

“Take a peek daily and see if you know that day’s nonprofit and all the work that they do,” Gurley told those in attendance.

Gurley, a coffee lover, also is starting a new monthly chat called “Espresso Yourself.” During the chat, Chamber members can express their thoughts to Gurley and she will discuss topics of interest.

No registration will be required.

“You’ll come and we’ll talk about whatever is on your mind,” Gurley said.

She also unveiled the Chamber’s new Business of the Month program. Each month, the Chamber will honor a business that goes “above and beyond on a daily basis for our community at large as well as our membership.”

This month’s Business of the Month is Pinot’s Palette in St. Charles, which has been a member of the Chamber since 2019.

“I have witnessed numerous times where they have supported this Chamber in numerous ways and at numerous events,” Gurley said.