For the third year in a row, it has been my pleasure to serve as master of ceremonies for the Illinois Department of Human Services/Division of Rehabilitation Services Employer Workshop and Recognition Breakfast in the Chicago area. This event, held on October 20th at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare attracted over 300 people from business, education, consultants and the agency.

What a great opportunity to bring together the best of employers and their people in a forum that highlights best practices to hire and retain the best people. The list of State Wide partners with DHS includes the LaSalle Bank, Jewel-Osco award recipients, Walgreen’s, Jewel Osco, Meijer, Home Depot, Target, UPS and Walgreen’s as well as Eli’s Cheesecake. This is the company that any business would want to be included in and shows that companies that hire the disabled are the most distinguished (d), innovative (i) and successful (s) to borrow a definition from one of the keynote speakers, Leah Gerlach from the Dieke Center for the Visually Impaired explaining the definition of the word “dis-abled.”

Eli’s, Dan Rivera, pictured here with Eli’s President, Marc Schulman, presented the Spotlight Award to Carol Marin, prominent journalist, and current contributor to the Chicago Sun Times, NBC5 Chicago and soon, Chicago Tonight on WTTW.

Rivera is a 14 year associate at Eli’s who was the first placement at Eli’s by Tom Minta, Manager of the DRS. Dan, a deaf associate, has distinguished himself at Eli’s by his excellent communication on quality, attitude, attendance and leadership. As the last person on the Eli’s packaging line, he has the final say on quality.

Eli’s Cheesecake was the recipient of the Spotlight Award last year, which goes to an organization that has promoted people with disabilities in a positive manner through the mass media.

It was a true honor for Dan and Eli’s to present the Spotlight Award to Carol as she played a very important role in Eli’s history. It was on July 29, 1981 that the world watch as Prince Charles married Lady Diana in London. That same, my wife and our publicist, Maureen Schulman, Eli and I went down to the Marriage License Bureau at the County Building with a wedding cake for the first couple to be married; Chicago’s answer to the Royal Wedding. Carol came to the Marriage License Bureau and did a wonderful piece on the first couple, their exchange of vows in his Texaco uniform and traveled back with them to the Texaco Station where they enjoyed their cake. Congrats Carol and thank you Dan for representing Eli’s so well.