Thanking God for the great people he put in her life fit the theme for Thursday evening when Cindee Manaves, sales manager with Arlington Ford, was installed as 2011 president of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce.
The celebration was based on "It's a Wonderful Life," the classic tale of redemption that focuses on how people are essentially good at heart. It also features an angel, Clarence, who serves as a guide for the main character, George Bailey.
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Dressed in white, Manaves said God "sends us only angels."
One of the chamber achievements that Manaves heralded is a recently revamped, easier-to-use website for My Town -- Arlington Heights (www.arlingtonhtschamber.com). This online coupon program allows members of the chamber to give discounts and special deals to consumers who join for $20 per year.
The project designed to foster customer loyalty and encourage people to shop in Arlington Heights has been operating for more than a year. Ninety-five businesses have offered coupons, and 300 people have joined as consumer members, said Jon Ridler, executive director.
Another bit of good news for Manaves is that the 250 people attending the installation dinner slightly outnumbered last year's crowd.
The new president promised to continue the Taste of Arlington Heights, the second day of a downtown event to celebrate the Arlington Million race at Arlington Park. It was instituted in 2010 by her predecessor, Joe Favia.
Taking a sentiment from St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, Manaves asked her members, "What are you hoping for in 2011? I look forward to empowering you to achieve what you are hoping for."
And she finished with a quote from Clarence: "No man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings."
The organization gave out several awards:
Business Volunteer of the Year, Linda Navara of LMR Designs LLC, an interior design firm; Emerging Business, Piatti Pronti and chef Lucia Biscaglio; Business Leader, Dr. Mario Palermo, Palermo Eye Care; and Business of the Year, Forbici Salon & Spa, owned by Jackie Lewis, who is also president-elect of the chamber.
Favia gave special awards to Doug Sanders of Motorola; Dianna Ehrenfried, owner of Visualedge Creative Services; Frank Soprano Sr. of BIK & Co.; and Ridler.