Dear fellow ANZACC members and friends,

Firstly, I wanted to acknowledge these unprecedented times for us all and send my best to you personally, and I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. As businesses, workers and residents not only in the Midwest but globally, our world just changed dramatically. And while we are all coming to terms with our new reality, I want to extend our thoughts to everyone affected by this pandemic from the entire ANZACC Board of Directors.

In a difficult time for all, and as our lockdown extends, this is an opportunity for us to reflect on the good times and focus on the future through hope. As Chicago’s Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, just said at a joint press conference with Governor J.B. Pritzker: “hope is healing.” I felt this was so profound for where we are at this moment.

I wish my first address to you all was under different circumstances but I also felt it was an opportunity to reflect on some good-times-during-better-times: our annual Down Under Soirée. If you have not seen the wonderful photos, with compliments of Tom McDonald, from the event, I encourage you to download them here.

I would also like to once again, congratulate Debbie Sharpe from Goddess and the Grocer for receiving the Australia-US Midwest Award for Outstanding Achievement presented by the Australian Consul General in Chicago. You truly are an outstanding Australian in the community and an inspiration to us all.

My special thanks to all who attended and helped us raise $30,000 to support the Australian Wildfire Relief Fund and COLLABORACTION. This was by far our largest fundraising effort and we look forward to next year!

As most of you know, I was also elected as the new President of ANZACC and I feel incredibly honored to serve in this new capacity. 

At my soiree address, I referred to “momentum.” Things such as the raised profile of Australia and New Zealand businesses in the Midwest, Air New Zealand’s and Qantas’s new non-stop flights into Chicago, the recent Australian Prime Minister’s visit to the Economic forum, or just new business or trade opportunities between our nations.

While some of these opportunities have been placed on hold, it’s the spirit and collaboration of Aussies, Kiwis and Americans that will arguably enable us to return stronger than ever before.

At least that is the hope that I have for our chamber.

ANZACC, to date, has been served by some phenomenal talent and extremely passionate people to whom I am so appreciative for their service, leadership and vision. Especially under the most recent leadership of Leanne Redden, Executive Director, RTA who has agreed to stay on our board.

Since elected, I have met with Australian Consul General David Bushby, NZ Honorary Consul General Richard McDonald, and many members and ANZACC partners as part of my initial listening tour. I want to hear from as many of you, and our members as possible. 

Your feedback is valued and critical.

Our vision for ANZACC is simple. 

  1. Continue to raise the profile of Aussie and Kiwi businesses within America’s Midwest.
  2. Create new networking opportunities for expats to learn and share ideas and collaborate personally and professionally.
  3. Ensure the chamber has a clear business vision and goals driven by its board.

It is no more complex than that. During our board meetings over the coming months, we need to pivot like everyone else, but I assure you that we will ensure our collaboration continues and we are relevant for our members.

I wish you a safe and healthy staycation.


Daniel Thomas

ANZACC President

A letter from Daniel Thomas, ANZACC President

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