October 19, 2021

Katie Wood Retires as Executive Director, Danielle Tufano Takes on Role

Katie Wood Retires

“I think most of all are the people and I’ll get emotional. The people that I’ve met along the way, the business owners, and the faces behind the doors. They mean the world to me so the relationships will be the most memorable part of this job,” said former executive director of the Downtown Naperville Alliance, Katie Wood.

After 14 years serving as executive director of the Downtown Naperville Alliance, Wood has stepped down. During her tenure, she’s led the city’s Central Business District, which has over 300 businesses including shops, restaurants, spas, and services. When first taking on the role, Wood remembers there were many empty spots. Along the way, she’s learned a few lessons that make Downtown Naperville work.

“Having these destination businesses like Apple and Pottery Barn and places like that help drive traffic to help support some of our small businesses,” said Wood. “And I think Downtown Naperville is unique in that we have this blend and they both co-exist very well.”

Wood oversaw many fan-favorite events like sidewalk sales, summer painted sculptures, and the winechocolate, and cookie walks. She also helped to grow the Downtown Naperville Gift Card program.

Danielle Tufano Takes on Role

“I know that I have huge shoes to fill,” said new Downtown Naperville Alliance executive director, Danielle Tufano. “Not literally. She’s a six and a half and I’m a nine and a half. But she’s done such a great job with Downtown Naperville. Just continuing her legacy and helping to keep growing.”

Tufano has now stepped up and taken on the role. With 16 years in media under her belt, including her most recent job as morning co-host of 95.9 The River, Tufano is excited to start something new. “I wanted to make sure that if I’m leaving a career that I’ve worked on my entire adult life that it was for the right opportunity,” said Tufano. “And when I reached out to Katie about something unrelated and we started talking and she told me she was going to transition out of this role, it just clicked automatically that this is what I’ve been training for, this is what I want to do, this is what I’m good at.”

A goal for the new executive director is to continue finding ways to engage and involve the community in Downtown Naperville. One way to do that is through social media. Tufano’s first day on the job was yesterday, and Wood will continue to help with the transition of roles through the end of the year.

What’s Next?

So what’s next for Wood? “Hopefully staring into the eyes of my grandchild a little bit more and spending more time with my family and friends and traveling a bit,” said Wood. “But Naperville is where my heart is.”

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.

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