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Local

NIU grad is DeKalb chamber’s new event planner

Jessica Struthers
Jessica Struthers

DeKALB – Just as the weekly DeKalb Farmers’ Market closed for the season, Jessica Struthers got her first taste of field work as the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce’s new full-time events manager.

“I’ve been trying to get a handle on everything,” Struthers said Thursday. “Today I got a chance to see the last one before next year rolls around.”

Struthers was hired to pick up where Lindsey Engelsman, formerly of Re:New DeKalb, left off planning downtown community events. The DeKalb native and Northern Illinois University graduate started Monday.

“She brings knowledge of the area to the position as well as a lot of event experience through her past work and school,” Chamber Executive Director Matt Duffy said. “She brings perspective that will help build on the Communiversity theme.”

The Chamber applied for and received a $45,000 grant from the city in June to fund the event managing position. As part of that agreement with the city, Struthers will coordinate five yearly events: the weekly farmers markets, Spooktacular, Hollydays, Breakfast with the Bunny and the Memorial Day Parade. But the Chamber is open to adding more events.

“Other events are still in the idea mode,” Duffy said.

Struthers graduated from DeKalb High School in 2006, and received an undergraduate degree in marketing from North Central College in 2010. Last year she graduated with a master’s degree in business administration from NIU, where she worked as an assistant women’s golf coach.

She has held marketing and planning roles with both the PGA and LPGA over the years.

“It’s a good fit,” Struthers said.

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