The Chicago Concierge Association held its first meeting in the ballroom of the Continental Plaza Hotel in 1981. It was formed as a way for the Chicago concierge community to network with each other and to build awareness in the visitor community about the potential importance of concierges, and the value of having a good rapport with local vendors, cultural institutions and PR firms.
Our first president was Phyllis Shlay, the chef concierge at the Continental Plaza. As the Chicago Concierge Association grew over the years and the profession became more common and necessary in hotels, the CCA became the CHCA, the Chicago Hotel Concierge Association. Having a membership comprised exclusively of hotel concierges enabled us to focus on the challenges of our hotels. We meet every second month and have annual educational seminars. Our membership is currently about 130 members at 45 hotels in the city of Chicago.
In an effort to better serve the members of our community, in 2003 the CHCA Assistance Fund was created. The Assistance Fund is intended to help members who are experiencing illness, involuntary separation, or a death in the family. The Assistance fund is supported by a silent auction that is held annually in Chicago. We hold an annual silent auction in support of this foundation. We also sponsor a mentoring program for new concierges to help them navigate the intricacies of the concierge world.