Gurnee Exchange Club president given top honor

  • Lyla Chandy

    Lyla Chandy

Updated 7/8/2020 2:04 PM

The Exchange Club of Gurnee had reason to celebrate at the first virtual district convention in mid-June when club president Lyla Chandy of Gurnee was selected to receive the Lincolnland District Exchange Member of the Year Award.

She was nominated for the district award by the Gurnee club after being recognized with the same award at the local level.


The Lincolnland District consists of 32 clubs in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula with a total membership of 969 as of May 31, 2020. The district ranks fourth, out of 27 districts nationally, in membership. Nationally, there are 617 clubs and more than 17,000 members.

The Exchange Member of the Year award recognizes a member who has provided an exemplary service as an Exchange member; served in leadership roles; been active as a program chair, a major committee or fundraiser chair; and has contributed at the district and/or national level.

Chandy has been a dedicated member of the Exchange Club of Gurnee since 2009 and is the current president. She served as a board member prior to her election. When she began her term last July, Chandy established lofty goals of increasing membership, higher fundraising revenues, active member and personal engagement, surveying member interest, and club rejuvenation.

During her leadership, the club experienced its biggest membership growth by 11 new members, an unprecedented accomplishment at a time Exchange clubs around the country are struggling with recruitment and retention.

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Chandy attributes this achievement to the club members who actively pursued opportunities to bring in new members. The club's biggest fundraiser, Ribfest, held in August each year, posted a successful revenue increase last year, another example of collective effort and member enthusiasm, Chandy noted.

A leader by example, Chandy is an active participant in the life of the club, engaging in all club activities and events: Salad in the Park, Golf Outing, Give-a-Kid-a-Flag, Summer Concert Series, Ribfest, Adopt-a-Highway cleanup, and One Nation Under God Breakfast.

She chairs the Ribfest 50/50 Raffle committee and serves on several committees, including Allocations, which awards $8,000 to more than 20 local organizations that support Exchange programs of Americanism, youth programs, community service and its national project, prevention of child abuse.

Perhaps one of Chandy's greatest strengths is her ability to effectively communicate with members. Each month, she sends "President's Notes," an e-newsletter updating members of Exchange about news, meetings, events and activities. This has served as a useful tool to keep members engaged.


She is proactive in developing meeting agendas, securing speakers, planning club programs and activities, and communicating with members in a timely fashion.

Chandy's involvement in Exchange is not limited to the local level. She has been active and supportive at the district level as a former district secretary and current membership chair. She attends and reports at district board meetings, participates in district conventions, and attends the mid-year educational conference.

She has also represented her club and the Lincolnland District at the national conventions.

For more information about the Exchange Club of Gurnee, visit www.exchangeclubof or follow it on Facebook.