All posts by Julia Stone

Mighty House Radio: Live from SBAC Canvassing Event

By: 1233

The SBAC was featured on Mighty House Radio Show live from our canvassing event in Northfield on Saturday, July 1st. Engagement continued to increase during the day as SBAC members, volunteers and staff connected with many individuals who want to see a functional government in Illinois.

SBAC members, staff and volunteers canvassed to end the budget impasse at the Park Ridge Farmers Market and Northfield Farmers Market. We asked residents of Illinois to call on their legislators to pass a responsible budget and end the destructive impasse. With over 20 volunteers participating, we reached hundreds of people who resonated with our bi-partisan message and agreed that the political gamesmanship needs to come to an end.

We feel these efforts had a tremendous impact on galvanizing Illinois residents to take an active role in asking their elected representative to end the budget impasse.
The SBAC will be canvassing at more upcoming local events. Join us to help Illinois’ economy stand tall! Our next canvassing event is on July 15th at the Safe Haven Run to End Homelessness at Montrose Harbor from 8:30 am – 1:00 pm. Reach out to SBAC Advocacy Director Ryan Tolley at to get involved.

Listen to the radio show below:

Grassroots Advocacy Campaign

By: 1233

Revive the Illinois Economy!

Illinois went 736 days without a budget. Unfortunately, over two years of relentless fighting by politicians ended with a budget that includes a tax increase and a reduction in spending but does little to improve the economic climate of our state.  The harm the budget impasse inflicted on many people throughout Illinois and the damage it caused our state is tragic. 

The SBAC pushed lawmakers to end the budget crisis, pass a responsible budget and make reforms to revive the Illinois economy.  The impasse has come to an end and the state has a budget.  Politicians disagree on whether the budget is responsible or balanced.  In time, there will be a verdict on that. Unfortunately, years of fighting have produced no significant reforms to revive Illinois’ economy. Furthermore, in large part because of the budget crisis, Illinois has accrued approximately $15 billion in unpaid bills. Reforms that would restore people’s faith in our government, such as term limits on leadership and creating fair maps, have been stymied.  It remains difficult to move legislation or initiatives to empower the small business community in Springfield.  Despite their rhetoric, this does not seem to be a priority for many state legislators.
The SBAC will continue our grassroots efforts to revive Illinois’ economy.  We will continue driving legislation that empowers the small business community.

It is time to take action!

The SBAC will be spreading our non-partisan message to the masses through a grassroots advocacy field campaign. Members, staff and volunteers will be canvassing to end the budget impasse at local events over the next six weeks.

There will be T-shirts and materials available for those able to join us. We expect our message and sincere concern about Illinois’ economy will resonate with the public.

Our non-partisan message to legislators is:
  • Make the reforms necessary to revive our state’s economy.
  • Stop the political gamesmanship in Springfield.
  • Pass legislation that will empower the small business community. 

We have strategically chosen these canvassing locations in Democratic and Republican districts.


July 1 Park Ridge Farmers Market
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Sign up
Northfield Farmers Market
7:30 am – 12:30 pm
Sign up
July 15 Safe Haven Run to End Homelessness
8:30 am – 1:00 pm
Sign up
August 5th Wheaton Brewfest
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Sign up
August 12 Waukegan Blues on the Water Festival
11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sign up

If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up online or email Advocacy Director Ryan Tolley at

Become an SBAC Advocate to receive updates and action items!


Member Spotlight: Dina Derman

By: 1233

Dina was introduced to the SBAC by a board member and met with both Elliot Richardson and Michael Cavanaugh at the SBAC office.

“It took no time whatsoever to be impressed by the advocacy support that the SBAC provides to small business owners in Illinois,” she says.

With over 30 years of banking experience, of which 20 years are in a management role, Dina is currently Senior Vice President and Administrator for Inland Bank’s Customer Call Center, Internet Bank and Health Savings Division.

She served as Vice President for the Retail Division from 2007 to 2013 before launching the internet-based eBank along with the national Health Savings Program.

“Inland Bank is a sponsor of the SBAC. As a community bank, we believe in relationships and supporting small businesses,” she says.

Dina has met many small business professionals and formed valuable relationships with them through the SBAC. Great relationships within the organization motivate her to stay engaged and involved.

“The SBAC has a dedicated board that I am honored to serve with,” she says. “It is definitely an organization that takes action and provides a vast array of resources to members.”

She encourages business owners and professionals who support them to join the SBAC, support advocacy efforts, and attend functions and networking events to form important connections.

“The SBAC is not just about networking opportunities, which there are many of, but more importantly the non-partisan advocacy of legislative issues that impact small business,” she says.


See more Member Spotlights

Support Small Business on the Green!

By: 1233

SBAC 8th Annual Golf Outing & Reception Dinner 

Join us on Monday, September 25th, at the beautiful Rolling Green Country Club for a fun-filled day of golf, lunch and a dinner reception! Registration and lunch open at 10:30am. Shotgun starts at 12:00pm. Meet business leaders, SBAC members and guests at this special annual event, which supports our advocacy efforts to further build coalitions that advocate on behalf of small businesses. Come hear how we will further our advocacy efforts to make Illinois Stand Tall.

Click Here to Register

Click Here to View Sponsorship Opportunities

Date & Time

Monday, September 25th

10:30 AM – 08:00 PM CT


Rolling Green Country Club
2525 E Rand Rd
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
United States

Event Price

Single/Foursome Golf (Includes Golf, Cart, Caddie, Prizes, Club Access, Lunch, Reception Dinner & Cocktails) 

Member Single/Double/Foursome – $250 / 475 / 900

Non-member Single/Foursome – $300 / 575 / 1,100

Reception Dinner (Includes Reception Dinner & Cocktails) 

Member Reception Dinner – $75

Non-member Reception Dinner – $100


Birdie Sponsors:




Par Sponsors:


Creating Strategic Partners: Amy Cramer & Michael Caramagno

By: 1233

SBAC members Amy Cramer and Michael Caramagno have built a strong strategic partnership through the SBAC. Their story is not uncommon — the SBAC helps like-minded business owners connect every day.

“Amy and I met at an SBAC lunch in Evanston,” says Michael. “The SBAC allowed us to build a stronger professional relationship with regular meetings and shared advocacy efforts.”

“I had just started Cramer Law Chicago, P.C. and was in desperate need for an accountant. We hit it off and started working together right away,” says Amy.

Initially, Michael assisted Amy with her accounting system and offered tax advice. A few months later, when Michael hired his first employee, Amy handled all of Michael’s contracts to ensure his company was protected as they grew.

“The SBAC has helped us connect and get to know each other because it gives us built-in time to chat about how our businesses are doing, potential referrals, and connections,” says Amy. “I can’t say that Cramer Law Chicago would be where it was today without Caramagno & Associates as a strategic partner.”

Michael and Amy both see the immense benefits an SBAC membership offers. The SBAC helps her gain exposure to businesses and lawyers all over the Chicagoland area. “The first luncheon I attended, I got a new client. What could be better than that?” she says.

Michael believes that connecting with other like-minded business owners is an invaluable asset for his business. He says, “The ability to consult with and recommend reliable and skilled providers of other services, like Cramer Law Chicago, has made us more valuable to our clients.”


To see more testimonials from SBAC members, please visit


SBAC Summer Soirée Boat Cruise on June 20th!

By: 1233

The SBAC Young Professionals Group is hosting their second Summer Soirée Boat Cruise on June 20th. All proceeds will support the SBAC’s advocacy efforts.

Board the elegant Mystic Blue Cruise Ship at Navy Pier for a night of dinner, drinks and great connections. Our last cruise was a blast and we can’t wait for another amazing event!

There is limited space on the cruise and we are expecting to sell out quickly. No tickets may be purchased after June 16th. The cruise, dinner and two drink tickets will be included in your ticket purchase.

Sponsorship opportunities

RSVP & More Info

Springfield Recap

By: 1233

Approximately 30 small business advocates arrived in Springfield and immediately began meeting with legislators from both sides of the aisle. We met with the Governor and an array of legislators to discuss the budget impasse. We also had very productive meetings with the Lieutenant Governor and the Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity about legislation focused on stimulating the economy and empowering small businesses.

Senator Castro updated us on her efforts to move legislation ensuring products sold by large online companies are subject to the same sales tax as goods sold by our local retailers. This will level the playing field for Illinois’ small businesses and provide the state with much-needed revenue. The SBAC also advocated for non-partisan workers’ compensation reform, constitutional pension reform and lowering fees that curtail the growth of our small businesses.

We left Springfield even more dedicated to fight for an end to the budget impasse and motivated to pass legislation laser-focused on improving the economic climate for Illinois’ small businesses.

SBAC Applauds Effort of Bipartisan Group of House Members

By: 1233

The SBAC applauds the bipartisan group of 33 Illinois House members who publicly called for an end to Illinois’ budget impasse. This is exactly the type of bipartisan leadership we have been looking for from our legislators.

Below is the group’s statement:

The finances of the state of Illinois are in crisis, and we must do better. The time for resolution is now. We are a bipartisan group of House members committed to seeing that happen.

There have been many ideas submitted both inside and outside the Statehouse. The key question for any of them is “Do they have the votes to pass?” The Senate offers one set of ideas in the form of a grand bargain negotiated by both Democrats and Republicans in that chamber.

We believe a solution that can pass the House and Senate and be signed by the Governor needs to include a package of bills that fundamentally addresses the needs of the state, and most importantly provides a normal, full-year budget for our state agencies, schools, and social service providers.

Let’s be clear; we aren’t looking at a simple all or nothing vote on a package sent from the Senate. We understand that a package sent from the Senate will not be complete or perfect, and it will change. Our legislative process allows hearings and amendments from both chambers, and we think that’s the best way to negotiate a deal that serves our constituents and the state as a whole.

We want to do what we were elected to do; govern the state. To do that we need to pass a budget. We understand a package from the Senate will be complex. Some parts may make members uncomfortable, and that’s not unusual in a negotiated deal.

We ask the Senators from both parties to pass the best negotiated package they can, and then we will take up their work in the House. We publicly support the hard work of the Senate and wish to continue their efforts.



Ann Williams – 11 – D

Anna Moeller – 43 – D

Avery Bourne – 95 – R

Barbara Wheeler – 64 – R

Bob Pritchard – 70 – R

Camille Lilly – 78 – D

Carol Sente – 59 – D

Chad Hays – 104 – R

David Harris – 53 – R

David Welter – 75 – R

Elaine Nekritz – 57 – D

Elgie Sims – 34 – D

Grant Wehrli – 41 – R

Jehan Gordon-Booth – 92 – D

Jerry Costello State -116 – D

Juliana Stratton – 5 – D

Keith Wheeler – 50 – R

Kelly Burke – 36 – D

Kelly Cassidy – 14 – D

Linda Chapa LaVia – 83 – D

Litesa Wallace – 67 – D

Marcus Evans – 33 – D

Mike Fortner – 49 – R

Norine Hammond – 93 – R

Sam Yingling – 62 – D

Sara Wojcicki Jimenez – 99 – R

Sheri Jesiel – 61 – R

Sonya Harper – 6 – D

Stephanie Kifowit – 84 – D

Steven Andersson – 65 – R

Terri Bryant – 115 – R

Tim Butler – 87 – R

Tom Bennett – 106 – R