Nearly one thousand members of the community came together for the Quad Cities Chamber Annual Meeting to celebrate Break the Rules Day and hear from futurist, Mike Walsh.

Walsh provided an insightful keynote presentation on what it takes to lead a business into the 21st century and challenged us to re-imagine the way we do business. He affirmed that the companies that will thrive in the near future will be the ones that not only embrace change, but are the first to break the rules. 

Walsh provided these tips to help you get started on shaping your business for the 21st century:

  1. Hire for agility, not technological ability. Cultivate performance driven employees rather than process driven.
  2. Design social environments (think of the Starbuck's model). Design an office for people that don't need one and design work environments that people want to hang out in.
  3. Challenge your culture of communication. Walsh provided an example of a tech company eliminating internal email and seeing productivity rates rise dramatically. He recommended messaging apps such as, Slack for internal communication. 
  4. Use data to hack your culture. Give your team the data they need to succeed. In the age of artificial intelligence and algorithms, leaders need to upgrade their skills and mindsets to lead the digital transformation. Embracing digital transformation means challenging everything we know to be true. 

Review the highlights of Walsh's presentation at

"To stand out as a company or as a region, we have to challenge convention... let's shatter our own limitations" said Tara Barney, President & CEO, Quad Cities Chamber.

We hope you will join us in continuing to challenge the status quo, thinking bigger and breaking the rules.

Have you shared the Break the Rules video yet?

The Quad Cities Break the Rules video shows examples of Quad Citizens who are breaking the rules to make a positive impact in their business and community. As Q2030 Tri-Chair and Quad Citizen Award recipient, Kent Pilcher expressed to the crowd, "the time is now. Let's all break the rules together." We encourage you to share this video and show off how we #breaktherulesqc!

Congratulations to Award Winners

We were honored to recognize many outstanding leaders at the Annual Meeting. 

  • divvyDOSE, a Quad Cities based pharmacy start-up took home the Break the Rules award
  • Kent Pilcher is the recipient of the Quad Citizen award
  • The Q2030 award honored organizations that have embraced the theme of Q2030. 
    • John Deere and the John Deere Foundation were recognized for being a catalyst for positive change in our region through their philanthropic and volunteerism efforts.
    • Critical Mass, Boots on the Ground, Well-Suited, QC Empowerment Network, Davenport NAACP, Rock Island County NAACP and United Neighbors were honored for their collective and collaborative initiatives on social justice. Read more about all of the winners here.

Stay connected

Outgoing board chair Kelli Grubbs, owner of spent time at the Annual Meeting outlining Chamber successes of the year. Perhaps most notably, the Chamber has directly helped businesses add 1,409 jobs and $205.5 million in new investment, resulting in $414.5 million in economic impact. Read more about these accomplishments in the Annual Report. 

One of the clearest examples of challenging the status quo and breaking the rules to make a positive impact is through the work of Q2030. We ask that you join the hundreds that have already endorsed the plan. Learn more and find out how you can get involved by visiting

Check out the photos from the Annual Meeting

Many thanks to our sponsors who made the event a grand success!

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