Woman of the Quarter: Kacie Chitwood
The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and Women in Business are excited to honor Kacie Chitwood Community Engagement & Development Lead at The Alive Center, as a 2021 Woman of the Quarter.
Woman of the Quarter Q&A
Q: Describe your business and what you do.
I am the Community Engagement & Development Lead at The Alive Center. We provide all local teens in Naperville and Aurora with a safe and free space to go after school and during the summer to discover new interests, meet new friends, build resiliency, and learn to lead.
All our programs are Teen-Led, increasing teen confidence and empowering local youth through our powerful peer mentoring model. I am responsible for our fundraising efforts.
Q: What do you love most about your work?
I love seeing the teens gather confidence and grow into themselves while making connections with new friends and the adults who support them at Alive. I know they are learning skills that will benefit them throughout their lifetime. I love helping people pursue their passions!
Q: What led you down your career path?
My background is in technology, sales, and online education. I have continued to find myself in roles where education and technology intersect with community relations. I love connecting with people and helping them reach their potential! I am drawn to the development of our youth as I believe they are our future. I have worn several hats throughout my career. My primary goal has always been to create a balance between my work and parenting as we have no extended family in the area. My current role is a natural blend of my sales, development, and community relations experience. I am so grateful to be using all of these at Alive!
Q: What advice do you have for other women in business?
Always seek ways to lift up other women coming up behind you and alongside you. We are stronger together. Earn the right to ask for what you want and don’t be shy about it. Know your value.
Q: Name someone in your life who inspires you and tell us why.
I have always been inspired by my mom, Maggie. She believed in being a community contributor taught me the value of service and the value of prayer and living in faith. Her integrity, wit, intelligence, and ability to pivot on the spot are traits I have always admired. If you wanted something done, you could count on her – always. She passed away in March of 2021 so it is so nice to be able to acknowledge her.
Q: What other passions or hobbies do you have?
I am passionate about servant leadership. I am committed to serving in our local schools and amazing community! I strive to give back wherever possible. My favorite quote is from Muhammad Ali: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room on earth.”
I love yoga, walks with my dog, reading, writing, cooking, and spending time with friends! I get my energy from people, so I love most social situations. My husband is a fantastic bartender, and we love creating cocktails for special events with friends. I am getting into genealogy and am currently working on a special piece of art to honor my mom’s unfinished work on our family tree. One year from now, my husband and I plan to purchase an Air Stream and begin to tour the National Parks while our kids are away at College.
Q: Aside from the Chamber, how do you stay connected within the Naperville community?
In addition to being involved within the Naperville Chamber of Commerce, I am fortunate to have many opportunities to connect with our amazing community in my role at The Alive Center.
I have volunteered in District 203 as a member of the SFCP Committee for the past 11 years. I am a member of the Naperville Rotary Club, 100 Women Who Care, and I have been a Catechist at Saint Margaret Mary Parish for 10+ years.
Woman of the Quarter Bio
I am an alum of The College of Saint Benedict (CSB) in Central Minnesota. CSB is one of the few all-female colleges left in the US. At Saint Bens, in 1992, I earned my BA in Spanish and Communications. I then earned my MA in Management from the University of Phoenix, San Diego campus in 1996.
I see myself as a connector. My career has taken me in many directions, but the consistent thread has been empowering others by helping them to reach their greater potential. I believe community building is the best way to create belonging and to empower others to use their unique gifts and talents. In my early sales career with Avnet Computer and MicroAge, I found great success by building consortiums alongside my competitors in the marketplace, expanding our reach within the business community by working together, customizing early technology solutions that provided greater value for our clients.
After being recruited by my biggest client, The University of Phoenix, I became an Enrollment Director in the for-profit sector and soon thereafter began teaching as an adjunct professor, using online methodology long before online education was considered the norm. Helping adult students reach their potential as both a counselor and a professor for 19 years and more recently as an ACT/SAT tutor has provided me the chance to witness many “aha” moments in others. Seeing adults and young people harness their power within inspires me to do all I can each day to bring my gifts to help others achieve. In my recent role as a Junior High teacher at All Saints and now as the Community Engagement & Development Lead at The Alive Center, I continue to find deep satisfaction in seeing our young people overcome their challenges and realize their potential. I love connecting our community so that we all realize how much more we can accomplish when we work together for the same goal.