at 11:44 AM
Earlier this week a young gentleman's name and face I hadn't seen in quite awhile appeared in my social scrolling.
About seven years ago, we devoted one of these weekly newsletters to philanthropy in youth and highlighted then-eleven-year-old Tony Neeley for the work he was doing to raise money for Food for the Hungry. In that newsletter, I said he would go on to do great things, and earlier this week I saw that he, along with a group of other GNSD students, was recognized at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Iowa conference. The group works to promote personal growth and leadership development through Family and Consumer Sciences education.
That young philanthropist I first met seven years ago (pictured above as an eleven-year-old) took away some awards from the conference, along with his peers. What a cool thing to be able to watch the youth of our community go on to excel in fun and exciting ways. We are lucky to be able to engage in their journeys, and hope they know that Grinnell will always be rooting for them, and will always be home if and when they choose to return.
p.s. There are many ways to help support the youth in our community, including a couple fun new volunteer opportunities to assist with Mileage Club. Check them out HERE!
at 11:44 AM
Earlier this week we recognized International Women's Day, a day celebrated globally on March 8 to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women.
We have incredible women in our community. They are business owners, entrepreneurs, community leaders, mothers, healthcare workers, daughters, teachers, artists, childcare providers and so much more. They are strong and courageous. They are often unknowingly mentors to other women, and are an inspiration to many.
I attended a meeting earlier this week which was predominantly filled with women, and a male counterpart called particular attention to the women in the room for their leadership, passion and commitment. I instantly thought of all the amazing women I get the privilege to work with on a regular basis, and it reminded me of this quote: 'Here's to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.'
So this week we salute the women in our community for their tireless contributions and efforts to make our collective community, country and world a better place!
at 11:41 AM
We kicked off our fourth annual Membership Month celebration this week! All month long we celebrate by recognizing our current members with shout-outs on social media, features in our newsletters and a general 'thank you' to each of them for being members of our organization.
Throughout the month, we will recognize members by grouping them together, recognizing some of them via random 'holidays' and others in random orders. It is likely a business will only be recognized on one day, and not necessarily all the categories they may fit into - it is our goal to recognize each of our current members by the time we reach March 31.
We could not do what we do without our members - quite frankly, they're the reason we are here. Membership in the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce allows our organization to best support our business community, and helps fund our entire scope of work. Our members contribute in a variety of ways, and offer their input throughout the year to help guide our programming and planning.
We continue to be in awe of our business community, and we are grateful for our members each and every day. It is fun for us to be able to recognize and highlight them throughout this membership month, and I hope you'll follow along HERE.
p.s. If your business isn't a current member and would like to join, simply send me an email or give us a call. If you aren't sure if your membership is current, give us a call - we would be happy to check on it for you!
at 11:40 AM
It's National Entrepreneur Week, and what better time to recognize our entrepreneurs for all that they do? An entrepreneur, by definition, is someone who takes on greater than normal financial risk in order to organize and operate a business. Entrepreneurs are passionate, hard working and visionary. Their vision becomes reality via commitment, enthusiasm and dedication.
Communities need entrepreneurs to survive and thrive. We are fortunate to have many entrepreneurs in our community, and we look forward to working with even more of you to help bring your dreams to life.
If you are considering a new business venture, reach out! We'd love to help you get your idea off center, and connect you with resources to help make it happen. If you are an active entrepreneur, thank you for taking risks which help make our community vibrant. We know you don't always hear it; thank you.
at 11:39 AM
I'm always quick to tell my children what I learn every day - even as adults there's usually at least one thing, right? One of my children is getting to the age where they feel they surely know everything, so I'm quick to remind them that learning is a lifelong experience and passion.
Last month, I was able to complete my Institute for Organization Management Certification. Of course, covid helped delay the completion of this four-year program, but I'm proud to say I was able to obtain the certification in January. The non-profit management program, organized by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, is a professional development opportunity for chamber and association professionals to build stronger organizations, better serve our members, and become stronger business advocates.
I am grateful for a board and membership who believe in staff development and training. It is this type of commitment that allows our team stay up-to-date on trends in the industry, learn from experts and colleagues, and ultimately help improve our communities.
There's still much work to do, but I am thankful for the opportunity to utilize this program as part of my lifelong learning.
at 11:38 AM
We're in the deep freeze today and it has me dreaming about warmer weather. Perhaps a vacation or even just starting a countdown until spring - I'm choosing to be the eternal optimist about winter this year and rather than dwelling on how cold it is, I'm going to look ahead to spring. Could someone please remind me of this in about a week when I've decided I can't handle one more winter day?! ;)
Before we skip through the entire winter, I want to remind you that Valentine's Day is just 25 days away! If you celebrate the holiday, I hope you'll find ways to share the love locally. Typically January is a pretty tough month for our small business retailers and restaurants, so any extra support you can provide would go a long way!
Just this morning we posted a number of special deals you can find at our locally-owned businesses to give you a little inspiration. Why not pick up a bouquet of flowers, a boutique experience, a new book, a gift card for dinner, a bottle of wine and/or some wonderful dessert from any of our restaurants? There is much to offer for the loved ones in your life this February; get your orders in early so our businesses can plan and staff appropriately!
Thanks for loving local with your purchases over the next few weeks!
at 10:36 AM
I will be honest, I'm in disbelief that it is already November - I feel like we were just celebrating the Homecoming Parade yesterday - where did the entire month of October go?! At any rate, we are gearing up for all things holiday in our office (save the date for Jingle Bell Holiday, November 19!), and excited to be highlighting many of our small business retailers over the next several weeks.
Many small businesses were hit exceptionally hard over the past two years, while big box stores and the behemoth who shall not be named, gobbled up the market share of online sales. While Small Business Saturday is a great thing, this year we are asking our community to join us in celebrating Small Business Season -- a whole season of celebrating small, local retailers. Why settle for just one day, right?
Did you know that shopping locally keeps money right here in our own community? For every $100 spent locally, $68 is a direct return to our local economy, according to Fundera. If that's not enough, it's often our local businesses who are the ones contributing right back into the community in so many ways, too - by sponsoring the local sports teams, supporting local fundraisers and groups, purchasing ads from other local businesses, and so much more.
In a world where you can shop anywhere, please make an effort to shop Grinnell this small business season. And remember, when you support small businesses, you're supporting a dream!
at 9:22 AM
Hearing the cheers, seeing the standing ovations for our 4th of July parade Grand Marshal, Dr. Lauren Graham, was quite possibly the most heartwarming thing I have recently experienced. During Sunday evening's parade, it was clear that most everyone along the route had a connection with Dr. Graham, or another of our healthcare heroes, who has been so incredibly committed to our community.
We received many incredible and worthy nominations for this year's Grand Marshal, ultimately choosing Dr. Lauren Graham for this recognition. One nomination read in part, "During this past year she has been the frontline for healthcare serving our community in various aspects. Dr. Graham is an internist as well as the medical staff president at UPH Grinnell. In addition to those roles, she is also a mother and raises her family in our community. If that is not enough, during the past year she has been the community go-to in just about every aspect when it comes to COVID19. She continuously and positively advocated for #Grinntogether, #MaskUpGrinnell, #BehindtheMask and so many other things, leading us through such a challenging and trying unprecedented year.”
Dr. Graham serves as a general internist at UnityPoint Health - Grinnell Regional Medical Center with a focus on high-risk outpatient care. She completed her medical school and residency at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore as well as a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology at The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio she and her husband moved to Grinnell in 2013. Her husband, Andrew, is a professor of chemistry and environmental sciences at Grinnell College. The couple have twin boys; Noah & Ben.
To Dr. Graham and ALL of our healthcare heroes: thank you for your commitment to provide high quality, compassionate healthcare for our community today and every day.
at 3:58 PM
We are excited to share and debut with you our #GrinnelliansUnite video that was submitted earlier this week to the #IowansUnite CommUNITY contest. The video with the most votes will win a custom mural for their downtown district. I'm a fairly competitive person and would really like to see us WIN this contest, but we need your votes daily through next Wednesday to make it happen. Simply go to THIS LINK and vote now for the Grinnell video!
Over the past year we have seen our community, neighbors and businesses unite in unique ways through the pandemic as well as the derecho. Today, we are asking you to unite once again by voting for Grinnell, and asking your respective circles to do the same. And as much as we want to win a mural for our community (please vote daily!), we are so very proud of our community and all the positive campaigns, efforts and initiatives that have come out of the past year to help support our businesses, organizations and fellow Grinnellians. We have creatively and collaboratively come together to see #GrinnelliansUnite and we are excited for the future and continuing our work with each of you to make Grinnell an incredible place to live, learn, work and play.
at 3:36 PM
Have you ever set up a lemonade stand? How about dog-walking, mowing lawns, a hot dog stand or even babysitting? Young entrepreneurs are all around us, and finding creative ways to make money and learn the ropes of business. In fact, this year we have seen a sizable increase in the number of young entrepreneurs attending Farmers Market - managing their own booth space, product and promotion. A great learning experience for them as they get their feet wet as young entrepreneurs in our community. An entrepreneur joining us this year is Milo with his business, Sweet Castle Soaps. Milo has joined us weekly since the beginning of the season and is learning a lot of valuable lessons and would love to see you on a Saturday morning in the near future!
We also have some pretty incredible entrepreneurs in our community - people who are willing to take risks, work hard, and often stand alone for something they believe in. They are amazing individuals, business owners and community members. Please consider supporting our entrepreneurs, both young and young at heart, when you make your next purchases in our community. Your support goes a long way, and helps them continue to work hard and dream of the next innovative, creative and fun ideas!