Executive Director

Megan Nakano is the Executive Director and a founding member of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois. Megan has over twenty years of experience developing strategic partnerships between the public, private, and non-profit sectors.  Drawing from her network, she connects corporations and government agencies with Asian American and other minority communities throughout the Chicagoland area. Megan identifies the shared goals between organizations and develops collaborative programing and communications that reflect their core values.  

Megan served as Director of the Asian American Alliance Small Business Development Center providing pro bono consulting services to minority entrepreneurs.  Having packaged SBA guaranteed loans in this capacity, Megan next transitioned into community banking.  She served as a commercial lender and the CRA Officer for an Asian-owned bank.  In this role, she partnered with other banks and community organizations to deliver financial education and other support to the underbanked and ensure fair lending practices.    

Megan returned to non-profit work as Director of Marketing at the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council (ChicagoMSDC) and a consultant to its Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center. In this role, she counseled Fortune 500 corporate members to help grow and promote their supplier diversity programs through personal introductions to certified Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), customized match-making events, and targeted communications.  She reimagined and published the quarterly ChicagoMSDC magazine, highlighting best practices in supplier diversity and MBE success stories.  

Civically, Megan is on the board of directors of the Chicago Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and served as President for 10 years.  Founded in 1929, the JACL is the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States.  Megan sits on the board of directors for Heiwa Terrace, a 200-unit facility providing affordable housing and culturally competent services for seniors and disabled persons.  Megan also serves on the board and is past president of the Asian American Coalition of Chicago (AACC).  The AACC represents 16+ Asian American communities in the Chicagoland area and has hosted the largest annual Asian Lunar New Year Celebration in Illinois since 1984.

Born and raised in Chicago, Megan attended Francis W. Parker School for 14 years, where the primacy of community and the value of cooperation over competition were ingrained from an early age.  From there, she went on to earn a BA in Political Science from Northwestern University.  

With long standing ties to Chicago’s diverse communities, Megan is excited to help companies be better corporate citizens while bringing needed resources to underserved communities and safeguarding their interests through collaborative planning and programming. Contact to connect.