Announcing the Advocacy Award Recipients


Join us for the 6th Annual Advocacy Awards Dinner & Awards Ceremony next Thursday on May 4th from 6:00 – 10:00 PM!

“At this signature event, we will celebrate the hard work of all the SBAC members who have fought to empower the small business community and improve Illinois’ economy.  Two SBAC leaders will also be acknowledged for the tremendous contributions they have made to the organization,” says SBAC CEO Elliot Richardson. “The evening will provide a great opportunity for people to connect and meet SBAC leaders from a variety of different areas.”

Celebrate our achievements in advocacy at our biggest fundraiser event of the year. Support the SBAC, connect with business leaders and hear about our next steps to ensure small businesses have a strong voice in advocacy. With a cocktail hour, three-course dinner and more, it is sure to be an unforgettable night.

Get your tickets here!


Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Advocate of the Year

Dwayne Hirsch, The Hirsch Network Team of Coldwell Banker

Dwayne is a Real Estate Agent with the Hirsch Network Team of Coldwell Banker in Chicago, Illinois. He specializes in helping sellers, buyers, investors and renters achieve their goals in real estate. An SBAC member since 2011, Dwayne is a Member of the Executive Board, Board of Advisors, Policy and Membership Committees and also the host of the Hyde Park Happy Hour. Widely considered to be among Chicago’s best known networking professionals, Dwayne is committed to advocacy for small business and to the advancement of entrepreneurship in Illinois.

“There is a growing need for advocacy, or in other words, always a new battle to fight,” says Dwayne. “The SBAC has given me opportunities to work toward legislation that benefits the entire small business community.”


Phillip Zelkowitz Small Business Champion Award

Stephen Ball, MB Financial Bank

Stephen is Senior Vice President and Head of MB Financial Bank’s Business Banking group. He is responsible for products, goals, marketing, training, promotional initiatives, management, and production for all retail banking that pertains to businesses. Stephen has spent his 21 years of banking experience focused on the small business market. Along with his staff of 32, Stephen helps businesses with lending and cash management solutions while providing sound analysis of their financials. Stephen is an experienced public speaker and published author. He has presented at Kent School of Law and various chambers of commerce and networking group events.

“The SBAC at its heart is built up of people of character who share a mission,” says Stephen. “I stay involved because I want to help make a difference. I don’t want to just ride the coattails of pioneers like Elliot and the SBAC team. I want to help them affect change.”