All posts by Lisa London

Premier Advocate Spotlight: Rachelle Jervis, MBA

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Rachelle Jervis, MBA

Welcome to our newest Premier Advocate! 

Rachelle Jervis is president and CEO of the Executive Service Corps (ESC), a 41-year-old consultancy with a mission to help make nonprofits successful. Before leading the ESC, Rachelle served as regional director, Illinois chapter director, and Chicago area director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  

Rachelle was a founding member of the board of the Chicago Friends School. She has also served on the board of directors of Aspiritech and the Camelot Host Committee (benefiting Cherry Preschool’s Inclusion Program). Rachelle is a frequent speaker on a wide range of topics, including civic engagement, networking, and leadership.

Rachelle earned an MBA from Loyola University Chicago and a certificate in nonprofit leadership from the United Nation’s Mandated University of Peace. She is a member of several professional associations, including Soroptimist International, the Public Relations Society of America, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

She uses her substantial social media following to promote inclusion, mental health awareness, and community engagement. Her proudest accomplishment is helping her late daughter overcome epilepsy and autism in order to learn how to speak. Her blog on the grief surrounding the sudden loss of her daughter, Want My Baby Back, has been read by thousands. 

Rachelle has extensive public speaking experience, including speaking at the dedication in her daughter’s memory at her alma mater, Cherry Preschool. In her free time, Rachelle enjoys reading and traveling.

To get to know more about Rachelle, please visit her at


11th Annual FORE ADVOCACY Golf Outing- Tickets NOW on SALE!

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The Small Business Advocacy Council presents it’s 11th Annual Golf Outing- FORE ADVOCACY!

Early Bird tickets and Sponsorship Opportunities are now available!

June 25, 2020



Registration starts at 1030AM, Shotgun Start at 12PM

White Deer Run Golf Course

250 W Greggs Pkwy, Vernon Hills, IL

Please contact for sponsorship opportunities

Register to play at

SBAC Venture Pitch Session- “Shark Tank” Without the BITE!!

By: 1245

Network. Learn. Pitch.

  • Pitch session contestants receive constructive feedback from our panel of judges
  • An expert panel discussion geared towards small business owners
  • Networking Reception- Before & After the competition

March 10, 2020


Located at mHUB 965 W. Chicago Ave

Apply to participate in our pitch session competition at

Want to just watch the fun? Register at

Premier Advocate Spotlight: Michael Reddy

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Michael Reddy

Welcome our new Premier Advocate!

Michael Reddy serves as president of Digital Authority Partners (DAP), a full-service digital agency that brings next-gen digital transformation solutions to clients.

Prior to his role at DAP, Michael worked with Fortune 100 companies in a variety of leadership positions across product management and website analytics. His expertise spans media mix modeling, statistical modeling, testing & learning, process improvement, loyalty program management, and website analytics.

Michael received his bachelor’s degree in management, marketing, and finance from Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. Outside of the office, he is an avid aviation aficionado and can be found in the air or spending time with his dog, Louie.

To learn more about Digital Authority please contact Michael at



Premier Advocate Spotlight: Mark Nakayama

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Mark Nakayama

Premier Advocate since 2019

Mark Nakayama is Co-founder of 11 Million Acres and has experience developing national and regional strategic partnerships that has led to the acquisition and management of over 10,000 commercial & industrial energy accounts in 20-plus markets. That experience was key to establishing the continuously-growing network of strategic technology and vendor relationships for 11 Million Acres throughout the United States, resulting in higher performing projects.

11 Million Acres works with the nation’s leading energy specialists, cutting edge technologies and innovative investment strategies to deliver the most efficient turnkey customized energy solutions. Together, we marshal our combined 40 years in energy management, procurement, engineering, and capital markets experience to support our clients as they reduce their energy budgets and develop critical paths toward more sustainable futures for their companies.

Find out more about 11 Million Acres at or contact Mark at


Premier Advocate Spotlight: Patti Zikmund

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Patti Zikmund

Premier Advocate since 2018

Meet Patti Zikmund, Project Consultant for the SBAC’s sister 501(c)(3) organization, SBAC Empower. Working for Empower, Patti wears about as many hats as possible in her quest to ensure Empower’s mission is on target. SBAC Empower was founded to provide resources to aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs in economically challenged neighborhoods across Chicagoland. The foundation of a neighborhood is its small business community: small businesses employ neighborhood residents, provide neighborhood services and are the center of neighborhood activities. Helping businesses start, grow and flourish can be a game changer in a struggling community.

Patti explains, “I love the fast-pace and diversity of start-ups,” when discussing her former position with Netscape. She loves to organize chaos in the growth of new businesses! Patti has a bachelor’s degree in International Business and dabbles in about 8 foreign languages (speaking fluently in 3)! Patti is extremely talented in the world of fitness and has too many credentials to fit in this article!

Some “fun facts” about Patti:

• She grew up predominately overseas
• She loves running
• She is a member of the “circus” for aerial arts
• She was in band, which was featured on German radio and even produced an EP
• She eats A LOT of M&Ms, but only the plain kind

To learn more about Empower or for any fitness needs, please reach out to

Please Join SBAC for the Advocacy Awards Celebration!!

By: 1245

Please join us for the 2019 Advocacy Awards Celebration!

Equal parts passion, creativity, and entrepreneurship, the Advocacy Awards is our esteemed distinction in honoring advocacy and empowering transformation.

Our event will recognize the people and small business that have demonstrated unique vision, innovation, and achievement in support of Illinois’ economy and the Small Business community.

October 17th, 2019, 6-9pm at The Metropolitan Club, Willis Tower, 66th floor

For sponsorship opportunities and to purchase tickets, please visit

For sponsorship or event related inquires please contact

SBAC Advocacy Update: Graduated Income Tax Town Hall

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SBAC Advocacy Update: Graduated Income Tax Town Hall to be held in Orland Park

The first in a series of town halls regarding the proposed graduated income tax will take place Tuesday, September 17th, between 9:00-11:00 A.M, in conjunction with the Orland Park Chamber of Commerce. Our members will discuss the proposed amendment with state legislators and officials before this important vote arrives at the ballot.

The town hall will be at the Orland Park Civic Center, 14750 Ravine Avenue in Orland Park. This town hall is free to attend and will be conducted in a nonpartisan manner.

Some of the questions we have heard from our members include:
• How will the revenue associated with the proposed graduated income tax be spent?
• Will there be property tax relief provided in conjunction with a proposed graduated income tax?
• How will the graduated income tax help stabilize Illinois’ economy?

Our panel will include:

  • Illinois Department of Revenue Director Davis Harris
  • Senator Bill Cunningham
  • Representative Justin Slaughter
  • Senator Michael Hastings


For more details and registration, please access this link:

Premier Advocate Spotlight: Brian Kastle

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Brian Kastle

SBAC Premier Advocate since 2016

SBAC is pleased to introduce Brian Kastle, Vice President of Business Banking Relationships for Fifth Third Bank, as this month’s PA spotlight.

Brian graduated with a BS in Finance from Western Illinois University, and later earned his MBA from DePaul University. Upon graduating, Brian joined MB Financial’s Leadership Development Program where he was able to rotate through several different departments within the bank to understand how the bank functions, thus developing a holistic understanding of the bank. Brian quickly found his home to be within Business Banking, as his passion and commitment lies with working with small businesses to help them grow and succeed. “Ultimately, I went on to pioneer the Business Banking Leadership Development Program role as its first designated hire, where I primarily worked as a credit analyst and assisted loan officers with the maintenance and development of client relationships,” Brian proudly reflects.

Brian wanted a career with a business that had strong ties to the Chicagoland community, as he is a proud Chicago native. He states, “One of my favorite parts of my position as a Business Banker for Fifth Third is visiting my clients at their location to learn their story and how their business operates behind the scene, which helps to better understand my client’s financing and banking needs.”

Brian is a proud Premier Advocate, as well as SBAC’s banker! When asked about his relationship with the SBAC, Brian says, “What I like most about the organization is its mission of political advocacy by working directly with our elected officials to help pass legislation that makes the playing field more friendly for small businesses in the State of Illinois. I also enjoy the networking opportunities and how the organization promotes business for its members by hosting Premier Advocate events on site of members locations, giving member business owners the chance to talk about their business while bringing more light to the way Premier Advocates can support them.”

Find out more about Firth Third Business Banking at or contact Brian at for any of your business banking needs.



Premier Advocate Spotlight: Drake Smith

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Drake Smith

SBAC Premier Advocate since 2018

Meet Drake Smith: a young professional who enjoys the everyday challenge of business banking. Drake joined the SBAC in 2018 as credit analyst for Signature Bank. Soon after, in 2019 Signature Bank became a proud sponsor of the SBAC. When discussing the SBAC, Drakes states, “The SBAC is a phenomenal organization with hard working individuals and inspiring leadership. We look forward to expanding our partnership in the future.” Drake’s admiration for the SBAC runs in the family, as his father Kevin Smith is the Co-Chair for the Northern Suburb Chapter.

Drake graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in finance and initiated his career with Signature Bank through their Management Associate Commercial Banking Development Program, a yearlong training program that allows trainees to rotate through various departments of the bank—Retail, Loan Operations, Treasury Management, Marketing, etc. When discussing his career goals, Drake says, “ Signature Bank appealed to me because they support the local, privately held business in Chicago and Illinois. Lending decisions that are critical to your business are made by real people who know you and your business strategy and are not just plugged into an algorithm. I was immediately drawn to Signature Bank’s sense of family and integration into the Chicago community. I have always sought a career that involves building relationships and supporting the community.”

As a Credit Analyst for Signature Bank, Drake underwrites commercial loans for locally based businesses. Underwriting loans can be challenging because every business tells a different story. Analyzing credit and financial reports to determine risk is not one size fits all. Drake mentions that he loves this part of his position with Signature Bank, learning about each business personally, understanding their needs and what will help them succeed is his goal.

Find out more about Signature Bank at or contact Drake at for any of your banking needs.