Editorial: Help QCBJ celebrate young leaders

The No. 1 priority for the Quad Cities is to retain and attract workers, especially younger workers.

It is even stated at the top of the Quad Cities Chamber’s regional advocacy priorities on its website: 

“Talent attraction and development. To remain competitive, the Quad Cities must not only grow our population but create an educated and skilled workforce that attracts new businesses and ensures current employers have the talent pool to succeed.” 

This priority, unfortunately, is not uncommon among communities and regions across the country. But how to best accomplish this is a much bigger question.

Recognizing young leaders with awards like the Forty Under 40 is not a panacea, but certainly can help. After all, recognizing and celebrating high-performing employees can be part of a great culture of any business or organization. 

The QCBJ is proud to bring these awards back to the Quad Cities after a 10-year hiatus. Our goal is to improve the region’s culture. Black Hawk College Foundation at the Quad Cities campus hosted a similar awards event from 2003 until abandoning it in 2012.

The Forty Under 40 awards are essentially a collective, regional thank you to these leaders under the age of 40. We celebrate these fine leaders and thank them for their hard work and devotion to their careers and communities. 

These amazing movers and shakers (featured on pages 3-31) are emblematic of the talent that we need to retain, attract and celebrate in the Quad Cities region. We have 23 women and 17 men in this inaugural class with 23 working in the private sector and 17 in public or government sectors.

Interestingly, nearly half of the honorees have degrees from local colleges and universities, which illustrates the importance of working with these institutions in this retention strategy.

Most of the people in the Forty Under 40 class do a considerable amount of volunteering. Sometimes it is difficult to discern between their volunteering and their “real jobs” because they are giving so much to both. It is also difficult to see how they manage to have time for their families which many of them have, but we are better for them and their hard work and tireless involvement.

It is our hope that these leaders get additional thanks and appreciation as they continue to demonstrate their involvement in a region that desperately needs their help and guidance. If you see one of them in public, be sure to show them your appreciation.

These individual awards and some of the recent regional accolades including the Top 10 Places for Millennials to Live and the No. 1 Best Midwest City for Millennials according to The Ascent also help with achieving the priority of talent attraction and retention.

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