What do you see has changed in the two years you’ve been away from the Quad Cities?
The number one thing I’ve witnessed is that the Quad Cities believes in and is invested in its future. That’s demonstrated by people taking new risks that they weren’t previously willing to take. This type of leadership is making a big impact on the community. The people I’ve already had the opportunity to meet with since I’ve returned indicate they believe the Quad Cities economy is stronger than it’s ever been. I believe the best has yet to come.
What is your vision for the Quad Cities Chamber?
My vision for the Quad Cities Chamber is to make sure our businesses are equipped to win the next generation. There are a few ways I believe we’ll accomplish this:
- -We must foster belongingness. Demographics are changing and we have to be ready. As leaders in the community, we must ensure that whether someone has been here one day or their whole life, that they don’t just feel welcomed, they feel like they belong here.
- -I believe our biggest untapped opportunity for growth in this community is with our small and midsized businesses. My goal is to expand our services and resources to ensure that these important economic drivers are supported to succeed here in the Quad Cities.
- -We have to be the strongest and best advocates for the business community, and we must have the audacity to advocate for big ideas – as we’ve done in the past with projects like the I-74 Bridge and the Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub – as well as issues that will advance the region’s business climate.
- -We will proactively lead the region by looking over the horizon to see where we need to be – much like Q2030 has begun to do. Then we have to harness the horsepower of our region to ensure we make it happen. We have to seize the opportunity to create the Quad Cities we believe in.
- -Finally, I’m committed to ensuring that our Chamber and team that serve our membership and this community are equipped with all of the knowledge and resources we need to create the best Chamber in the country for the Quad Cities.
What is one lesson you learned from your time at the Grand Rapids Chamber?
The need to evolve. The Grand Rapids Chamber is serving businesses in one of the strongest economic markets in the country. Instead of resting on its laurels, I was part of a team that reinvented how the Chamber served its members to not only stay relevant, but drive continued progress for the region’s businesses. This lesson is immediately relevant and it’s great to now be part of a Quad Cities Chamber team that is committed to evolving to meet the needs of our members and region.
Tell us one thing that very few people know about you.
I’ve moved to the Quad Cities 4 different times. Even though I was born and raised in the Quad Cities, several education and professional endeavors took me away from the area. I’ve always wanted to make an impact in the Quad Cities area and I’m very excited to be doing so as the Quad Cities Chamber CEO.