The CEO Council has put great effort behind building a culture that enhances the business climate so regional businesses can thrive, projects can succeed and people can prosper. This takes a strong commitment, quality leadership and successful collaboration. We have accomplished many great things as the CEO Council thanks to regional commitment, leadership and collaboration. Here are some of those accomplishments:
- The Big Table: Greater Peoria 2020: Despite having to shift to an online platform in 2020, The Big Table: Greater Peoria was a huge success. The virtual event took place over four days, from October 19-22, and drew 748 participants from 55 different zip codes in our region. Community members exchanged ideas and discussed common challenges and opportunities to make the Greater Peoria a region a better place to live, work, and play, especially in the areas relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion; workforce development and education; quality of life and place; and innovation and entrepreneurship. Exit polls indicated that again, the majority of participants were satisfied with their experience at the event (94.7%), and felt more connected to and optimistic about the region after attending.
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- Gather Around Justice: A Big Table Discussion Series: The Big Table: Gather Around Justice was a discussion series created following the peaceful protests and demonstrations around the region and country in response to the killing of George Floyd by the Minnesota police. The Big Table reached out to leaders from local causes, law enforcement, and individuals focusing on racial equity in the hopes of bringing this timely and much needed discussion to the forefront. The event focused on fostering mindful conversation about how to use individual power and privilege to make the changes our region needs to correct historical racial, economic, and social inequities. There were 444 participants in conversations that included Criminal Justice Reform and Equity through HR & Organizational policy.
- The CEO Council developed a new website: PEORIAregion.com. This website represents and promotes Peoria as an anchor to the greater 30-county trade area that is home to 1.7 million people and focuses on an inclusive 13-county primary trade area that better represents this dynamic region. Companies were asked to share this on their business website and help spread the word.
- The Big Table: Greater Peoria event took place on October 15, 2019 at the Peoria Civic Center. The Big Table came together thanks to the efforts of the Business Champions committee through the ambassador visits and better understanding the need for a regional narrative. In an effort to make this a regional initiative we partnered with eleven other Chambers and community organizations who recognized the same need. The event was a huge success and gathered over 700 participants from across the region to engage in community conversations centered around moving the region forward in the areas of workforce development and education, quality of life and place, innovation and entrepreneurship, and diversity and inclusion. We learned from the exit poll that 94% of participants reported they were satisfied with their experience at the Big Table and 96% reported they would attend a similar event in the future.
- The Big Table Final Report was completed and released on February 18, 2020 to the public. A full copy of the report can be found here. We plan to keep the momentum alive by bringing back The Big Table in the Fall of 2020.
- The Regional Workforce Development Alliance was launched and is led by co-chairs Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey and Patti Abel. 40% of adults in the Peoria region have a post-secondary credential when 60% is required for economic vitality. This alliance provides leadership for the CEO Council to develop a community-based collaboration to partner with employers, workforce development agencies, educational institutions and community-based organizations to align efforts and deliver results for the workforce, the employers and the region. This project will be ongoing.
- 2018 Scorecard. This was the third scorecard completed for the Greater Peoria area benchmarking the region against eleven other communities throughout the Midwest. This data is used to move needles forward in the region and continues to give the CEO Council an in depth look at areas of success and opportunities for growth.
- The Business Champions created an elevator pitch for our area and partnered in the creation of the For Everyone promotional videos for Peoria. The Business Champions continue to work on development of a Regional Brand/Identity for our region. Those resources and videos can be found at RecruitPeoria.org.
- Water Infrastructure Objective Study – On October 30, 2018 the Peoria City council failed to vote to gather information about the value of Peoria’s water system. Prior to the vote, the CEO Council conducted an 18-month study, which showed that Peorians are charged far too much for water and that millions of dollars in profit leave our community every year. The CEO Council volunteered $700,000 and Pro Bono Legal assistance to conduct an appraisal and pursue the facts for the citizens of Peoria. We realize the revenue from the water company would not solve next year’s budget but the continuing of increase fees on businesses and citizens without investigating the numbers of the water works is very disappointing. The CEO Council remains invested in the success of the City of Peoria and will continue to look for future opportunities. The 18-month study done by the CEO Council can be found here.
- Greater Peoria Works continues to thrive under the direction of the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council. This program continues to identify, encourage and assist Great Peoria employers with providing non-permanent jobs or work-based learning opportunities to high school students on a continuous basis for the purpose of developing job-related skills and attitudes. For more information, click here.
- Downtown/Warehouse Committee completed the creation and launch of the Downtown Development Corporation of Peoria (DDC).
- Education & Workforce Committee helped create Peoria Pathways to Prosperity Joint Resolution, which seeks to ensure that many more local youth complete high school and that more high school graduates are college and/or career ready.
- The 2014 Scorecard Committee collected and compiled data to help identify new areas of focus for 2015 with the help of an Ad Hoc Project Selection Committee who helped flush out initial concepts to present to the group.
- 2012 Scorecard. The first of its kind for the Greater Peoria benchmarking the region against eleven other communities throughout the Midwest in five major categories. The scorecard is a tool the CEO Council will use to help identify areas of focus for projects.
- Partnered with Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce and community leaders in launching the first ever Peoria Charter School by working with District 150 to apply for the charter and working with the community to gather supporters.
- Key partners in the successful Build the Block Referendum Campaign to build the Peoria Riverfront Museum and CAT Visitors Center.
- Acted as the Project Manager of the UICOMP’s 24,000 sq. ft. $10 million dollar state of the art Cancer Center that was completed in December of 2011.