Even while she was still working in the corporate world, Matteson village president Sheila Chalmers-Currin (MS ’98) found ways to serve the community.
On top of her full-time job, Chalmers-Currin volunteered as the fire and police commissioner — first for the village, then the state of Illinois. She used the marketing skills she honed as a graduate student to campaign for elected officials like President Barack Obama.
In 2009, Chalmers-Currin decided to run for office herself, and became a Matteson village trustee. Eight years later, she ran for Matteson village president and won.
“My maternal grandmother taught me that it is our responsibility to help others and give back,” Chalmers-Currin said. “I believe each of us should use whatever gift we have received to serve others.”
The Roosevelt University alumna answered a few questions about her time at Roosevelt and her goals for Matteson.
How did Roosevelt prepare you to succeed after graduation?
My integrated marketing and communications professors were always available as resources and guidance. The professor that stands out is Mary Ellen Schiller, and the course was ethics in business (I looked at the course as ethics in life). Professor Schiller’s commitment to the free exchange of communication and ideas for her students was impressive.
Roosevelt University has prepared me, as the Village of Matteson president, to collaborate with other elected officials and be a voice for Matteson's residents. I like to believe that, with the knowledge gained from my time at Roosevelt University, I've moved toward unleashing my true potential in serving my community.
How have you seen Matteson grow during your tenure?
Amid closures in the Village of Matteson, we knew we had to make changes. Retail has changed, and we have to change and adjust if we are to have sustainability for years to come.
After Sam’s Club closed, we lured them back as an e-commerce option, bringing in more sales revenue than before and more jobs. We are also building a new Amazon Fulfillment Center, due to open in August 2021, which will bring sale revenue and more than 1,000 jobs, to name a few active projects. This is all happening in the midst of a pandemic.
But I’m most proud of the relationships I've developed with the community I serve. I developed a great relationship with residents that respect and appreciation the direction of the Village and know that I, with a supportive board, am working to move the Village forward.
What impact do you hope to have on Matteson residents?
As Village President and resident of Matteson, I'm always searching for ways to bring growth to the Village, in remembering our motto “a home for business and a heart for family.”
After my tenure is over, I hope Matteson residents will know that I worked to the best of my abilities to leave the position in a better place than when I received it.
What’s your advice for students considering public service?
Start by volunteering in your community. Offer your service on a campaign. Public service is the foundation of a civilized society, and the benefits are enormous. It lifts me every day with the fact that I can positively impact the lives of others.
About the Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications
With a master’s in integrated marketing communications, you create the brand conversation. Roosevelt's graduate degree program prepares you to lead creatively and strategically. The hands-on course work and faculty members with major-brand business experience are focused less on theory and more on preparing leaders for the business world. Learn more.