Here at Chrome City, we pride ourselves in having ultra-creative and inspiring homies throughout the Chicago area. Each week, the Chrome Chronicle (our news outlet) will share a little bit about these incredible people and why we are excited to feature them as our #ChromeHomie. Let us introduce our Homie, Shamama.
Shamama Cheema of Concierge Preferred
Q: What is your role at Concierge Preferred?
A: As an Account Executive, I help highlight the right businesses in Chicago by bringing more visitors through their door, all while strengthening our relationship in the concierge community. Chicago's Tourism continues to soar, and as that happens, it's my job to make sure our clients are being talked about by the people who know the city the best. All the major hotels in the Downtown area carry our maps & products and that means that all the concierge's are using them to better showcase what's around and what to do while you're visiting. The impact of our services - from our portable magazine, maps and new mobile website - is immediate and effective. I can attest to this as I was a previous client before joining the team this May!
Q: How did you end up in Chicago?
A: Food! I used to have a small blog about food where I would share/rant about where I loved to go eat in South Florida but, although the food industry has significantly grown since I left home, Chicago was screaming "FOODIES LIVE HERE" - so I booked a one way ticket back in August of 2011 and haven't looked back since. Once moving here I've worked for two really great restaurant groups, developed key professional relationships with folks in the hospitality scene and am constantly developing professional traits that have helped bring me to where I am now in my career.
Q: What is your favorite part about the city?
A: There's always an adventure to be had. You can live here for 10 years and your favorite neighborhood will have popped up three or four new spots for you to frequent. You can have lived here for only a few months and your bucket list is so large that moving back home (where ever that may be) is not an option. No Bucket List Left Behind.
Q: How did you meet Alex?
A: My first day working at Mercadito Chicago, which was only the 5th day having lived here! I was their brand new Hostess, so I was just "shadowing" the team, and out came magnificently dressed Alex from downstairs Double A to check the numbers for the busy Friday night. No clue if she remembers meeting me but my first impression was "Wow, she looks like she knows how to have a good time!" Hope that doesn't come off as creepy as it sounds. Alex is a constant reminder of why living in Chicago is a blast - she exemplifies uber passion, damn good taste and LOTS of spunk.
Q: Who has influenced you the most in your career?
A: There have been a few influences throughout my career in Chicago. Before Concierge Preferred, I was the Marketing Manager at Mercat a la Planxa and I had worked with some of Chicago's finest Food & Beverage leaders. One lady who continues to inspire me is Liz Sorrentino - Executive Director of Chicago Gourmet - who I had the opportunity to partner with as we hosted our first annual Paella Cook-Off with Chef Jose Garces. She's incredibly fierce, remarkably kind and always rocks a stellar outfit. Mostly, If I can emulate her work ethic and ability to get things done, I'd consider myself darn proud.
Q: What inspires or motivates you?
A: I'm inspired by the idea of impacting people through being hospitable and genuine. Which are two of the ways I describe the city of Chicago. The hospitality industry is nationally known for caring the most about their guests and the your experience when exploring the city is authentic. Sit down at any bar, in any neighborhood, and if you don't meet a cool bartender who shows pride in this city, I wouldn't actually believe you. I take great pride in moving here from South Florida and in just four years meeting some of the greatest people I've known and all because I just wanted to eat really delicious food.
Q: What is your creative process?
A: My approach to marketing and all my professional relationships is to be genuine, purposeful, strategic and hands-down, a memorable one. I'm constantly thinking of ways to creatively partner with people and to engage with clients in a meaningful way. I've learned that the more you give, the more you get. It's all about the human connection, no matter what business you're in. I've hugged just about everyone I've ever worked with... for sure had a few drinks with them, if anything :)
Thanks for being a Chrome Homie, Shamama!