440 West Ontario Street
Chicago, IL 60654
Date & Time
Thursday, April 18th
8:30am Continental Breakfast
9:00am Series Start
How SHE found professional success and impacted her community
To honor Black History Month, Fusion92 had the pleasure of hosting Andrea “Siri” Hibbler, chairwoman of the Garfield Park Chamber of Commerce and the founder and chairwoman of Chicago’s Black Chamber of Commerce, at our office for a Future Series keynote. Siri spoke about her experience growing local organizations, as well as her work influencing her community as a charity organizer, spokeswoman and advocate. For those who were unable to attend, here’s what you missed:LEARN MORE AND REGISTER
The Garfield Park native graduated from Marshall Metropolitan High School unsure of her path in life. Complications in her neighborhood and an opportunity from a friend prompted her to move to California to pursue computer technology … with no computer experience. With her mother’s encouragement to “take a chance,” Siri left her two children in their grandmother’s care and headed west.
After completing trade school in Encino, she landed a position in marketing where she taught herself new programs and gained skills she had never imagined herself capable of. With more experience came more confidence in her abilities; it prompted Siri to take another chance. She approached the company’s CEO — who she had (wrongly) assumed didn’t like her because she was black — and asked for a shot at filling her former manager’s role. He willingly awarded her the position, and she thrived.
From there, she spent time at IBM supporting the Y2K group and Transamerica, launching the trade show department managing 65 events a year. Siri left Transamerica and started her own marketing company. Working out of her dining room, she drove six figures of revenue in only six months thanks to her grit and networking. While she did eventually earn a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University, this was all accomplished with no college degree.
When she returned home to Chicago in 2016, she saw the neighborhood she grew up in had become desolate and filled with empty lots. Siri was determined to improve the living conditions in the heart of Chicago. Her contributions included placing 100 people in housing in one day, and she is currently linked with 45 housing agencies throughout the city.
Even with all that she had accomplished, she still felt as though something was missing. Drives through Garfield Park revealed a food desert, a lack of businesses and a community that was rapidly decreasing in size. She spoke to local high schoolers who voiced their desire for jobs in an area with so few options for commerce. Being solution minded, Siri reached out to the community and started a chamber. Her first goal was to build Garfield Park on the east end, adding multiple incomes to the neighborhood without the displacement that gentrification brought.
There is still much to do, but Siri is dedicated to making a long-lasting impact in the city she loves. We are extremely grateful to Siri for sharing her journey with us, as well as how we can get involved in improving local communities, and we think you will too.