Make Your Mark 2014

Make Your Mark
In case you missed last year’s star-studded Make Your Mark event, you might not know what we have up our sleeve next Wednesday night for our Make Your Mark Siren Wednesday.  Each year we have a “suns out, guns out” party celebrating YOU, our members.  This year is no exception!

“Well…” you say, “all Siren Wednesdays are pretty awesome.  How is this different from any other Siren?”

This is the time of the year that we acknowledge the individuals that have been HUGE contributors to ImpactCR and our Service and Leadership committees and have made their mark throughout the last year.  At 6:00 p.m. we will have a short program to look back at all of our accomplishments over the last 10 months and share what is to come in 2015!

Join us on Wednesday, November 5th at White Star Ale House from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. for some delicious food, great company and your first drink on us!  Boom.  You didn’t even see that coming!!  So we can plan accordingly, please RSVP to let us know you will be celebrating the awesomeness that was 2014 and welcome in the new year.  So, it’s kind of like a New Years Eve party in November!  Love it! 

This would not have been possible without some AMAZING sponsors!  Join us  in thanking Principal Financial Group, Farmers State Bank and University of Iowa – PM Program.  See you there!

Big on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram? Please use the hashtag #makeyourmark while posting about ImpactCR!


Next Gen Summit | Countdown Begins

Next Gen Summit

The Next Gen Summit is just around the corner, and I couldn’t be more excited. On Wednesday, October 1st hundreds of young professionals will be flocking the hallways of the newly renovated US Cellular Center, repping their Iowa Pride. This year’s lineup for keynote and breakout speakers is jam- packed with upbeat fresh faces, and some local favorites. With brand new breakout sessions, the addition of an interactive round table discussion between young professionals and executives, and an after party at Theatre Cedar Rapids, this is bound to be the best year yet.

Many current initiatives are focusing on the engagement of college students and young professionals new to the workforce, in hopes that they will find the Corridor is a place to stay and grow their careers. The theme of “Iowa Pride” encompasses the same goal for the Next Gen. Summit. This year, I really look forward to the executive round table portion of the day, where attendees be sitting down in small groups and participating in a conversation with a local executive. The discussions will be focused on workforce retention and strengths and weaknesses of the Corridor area.

I grew up in the Des Moines area, and came to Cedar Rapids three years ago for my husband’s job. At first, I wasn’t so sure about this place. It was hard to see myself staying here long term. I heard about the Next Gen. Summit, and on a whim I decided to go. It was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to know opportunities for volunteering. They had a non-profit fair with tons of organizations to choose from. I was looking to join a board. They had a great breakout session on ways to broaden leadership skills, including joining a local board. I wanted some advice on starting my own business. They provided a great panel of entrepreneurs offering tons of advice on small businesses. The Next Gen. Summit was designed for someone like me, new to the area and looking to know why I should stay.

Companies can also take advantage of this event by sending their employees and encouraging professional development. Executives in the past have found the Next Gen. Summit provided a lot of insight to the minds of their younger workforce. This event really goes beyond networking, and basic leadership training. It is a community wide opportunity for businesses, entrepreneurs, and corporations to take part in a unique professional experience.

As a current co-chair for the Next Gen Summit, I get to know all the ins and outs of the day, which factors in a little bias. But who am I kidding? If I had nothing to do with the planning of this thing, I’d still make sure to have a front row seat. I joined the planning committee because I think it’s a terrific event, and I want to see it grow. If the Next Gen. Summit inspires more young professionals to make the Corridor their home for business and personal life, then we can definitely call this a success. I know I have my ticket reserved. See you there!

Editor’s Note: This post is written by Next Gen Summit Co-chair and ImpactCR Board Member, Tallis Strub.

The Next Gen. Summit 2014 is presented by Kaplan University, with supporting sponsors: UICCU, Van Meter, ACT, and Upper Iowa University. A full schedule of the event and registration information can be found here.

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We Want You!


Have you attended ImpactCR events such as Siren Wednesday, BigWig Lunch Talks or been a part of one of our awesome committees? Do you have some hip and fresh ideas that we seriously need to know about? Are you working toward a vision of what you think the ideal community is for the Now and Next Generation? Alright, Alright. I’ll stop with the questions!

Bottom line: We are looking for young professionals interested in being a part of a group full of passionate individuals who volunteer their time and expertise in connecting the now and next generation of leaders to the great Cedar Rapids community. We know all about you and now we want you on our board! We need some fresh blood perspective!

You’ve never been on a board before? No problem! I’m looking for ways to become more engaged in the community. Awesome! ImpactCR is a great way to network with other YPs and community leaders.

Board members come to the table with varying levels of engagement and experience, but we all have one thing in common: limitless community pride. While we focus talents of individual board members to serve where they feel most passionate, we come together as a board to advance our mission, dream up new strategies, events and plans on how to better serve our community’s future leaders. #MakeYourMark by applying for the ImpactCR Advisory Board today.

In case you did not know… ImpactCR is a network of young professionals, making our mark through service projects, social opportunities, leadership and professional growth programming, including collaborating on the corridor-wide conference, the Next Gen Summit. Our Advisory Board is looking for young leaders to apply, as we continue our mission into 2015 and beyond.

Questions? E-mail

All aBoard 2014


Bright man, that Mr. Ali!  I know you all do some form of service already because ImpactCR members are all rockstars.  However, your favorite local, state and national non-profit organizations are looking for your help.  They want need you to be advocates for their organization at a board level.

On August 9th, ImpactCR is hosting our annual All aBoard event.  Have you ever thought about being on the board of your favorite non-profit?  Ok… so maybe you’ve thought about it but don’t know how to connect with board members.  Well… again, that’s why we are so awesome.  We are bringing board members to you and you to them.  They want young professionals who are passionate about their organization to become leaders.

The morning will begin with a presentation on Civic Boards and Commissions by Cedar Rapids City Councilman Kris Gulick.  Following, we will host a roundtable networking session with local board members: Stephanie Musterman-Robinson (Diversity Focus), Lydia Brown (NCSML), Brad Hart (United Way), Diane Ramsey (Iowa Women’s Leadership Conference), Brian Globokar (Catherine McAuley Center),  just to name drop a few!

During this roundtable session, you can create authentic connections with experienced leaders and engage with local boards looking for new members.  Don’t forget to bring a copy of your resume, questions and an open mind!  You never know who you might meet or what organization will pull at your heart strings.  Find the “right way” to become a vital part of strengthening our community though nonprofit leadership and service!

Register HERE!  This is one of the few events that is not free to our members.  For $15 you get an awesome coffee bar, breakfast and a unique opportunity to network with some pretty amazing leaders in our community.  See you there and don’t forget to #makeyourmark!

Photo Courtesy of Heather Gierut


Siren Wednesday | Lion Bridge Brewing Co.


I don’t know if you know, but tomorrow is Wednesday. It’s not just any Wednesday, but one of 12 Wednesdays that happen every year. It’s the first Wednesday of the month, aka Siren Wednesday.

Have you been to Lion Bridge Brewing Company yet?! Hopefully you have, but if not, I seriously hope you can make it tomorrow night! Located in the heart of Czech Village, Lion Bridge offers local brews, as well as guest taps and artisan sodas. Not to mention their delicious “beer-centric” appetizers. We know you will not be disappointed!

Join ImpactCR Wednesday night (June 4th) at Lion Bridge Brewing Company located at 59 16th Ave SW from 5:30 – 7:30 for some networking at this very cool local establishment! See you there!

Photo courtesy of Chris Gierut via This Is Cedar Rapids

Big Decision Series | Homeownership


As young professionals, we come across a lot of big decisions – how to save for retirement, getting an advanced degree, how we spend our free time, what to have for lunch, but most importantly where we choose to live. Some of you haven’t found that perfect abode yet, while others might be comfortable where you are living now and some of you might be ready to find that perfect house (or condo) to call your own. But how do you even begin to plan to buy a home?

Because we are like, totally on top of the game (Whoa. That. Was annoying.) ImpactCR has pretty much done most some of the work for you. It’s overwhelming to think of buying, or even selling and buying, we have gathered a few people who know a thing or two about homeownership.

Realtors Nate Holler and Brian Hoel will join mortgage officer Tom Schulte to talk about everything you will need to get you ready for one of the many big decisions a young professional will face. From home inspections and appraisals to closing costs, defining PMI, FHA and VA to how to determine what neighborhood is best for you. You name it, they’ll talk about it.

All you need to do to get in on all of this awesomeness is register here, so we know to order you some lunch courtesy of our sponsor, Cedar Rapids Area Association of Realtors. We look forward to you joining us on Wednesday, June 4th from 11:30-1:00 p.m. for our second installment of the Big Decision Series!

Siren Wednesday | Planet X

“What the?!  But we’re adults and that place is for kids!”

If this (or something similar) was your initial thought, please know you are not alone.  However, please also rest assured we chose Planet X for many good reasons – one of which just so happens to be how much fun this place is for adults!

Like many of you, I don’t have children of my own and as such, I wouldn’t ever  typically throw Planet X into my bag of venue options for adults, at least not prior to attending a birthday party there last year.  I can tell you firsthand that as difficult as it may be to admit, we are all very wrong in our assumption that there’s no fun to be had by adults at Planet X. In fact, quite the contrary actually – it’s an absolute blast, even for corporate events.

I mean, laser tag? Miniature golf? How about rock climbing or jump shot? SPACE BALL, PEOPLE! Everybody knows you haven’t really lived until you’ve space balled! But if you still aren’t in after reading about all those activities that I personally find enjoyable – yes, even at 24+ years of age – might I interest you in a slice or three or seven of Planet X’s made-from-scratch, New York-style Pangea Pizza, paired with a gourmet beer of your choosing? Okay, the gourmet part might be a stretch, but you know what’s not? The mouth-watering deliciousness of their homemade Full Moon ice cream! To live for, truly.

And if even after reading all of those compelling reasons to join us at Planet X you still “seriously can’t even,” we hope you’ll look at it as an opportunity to welcome and network with our fellow young professionals who do have children. These amazing folks have requested and waited patiently for a family-friendly Siren Wednesday and we have the survey results to prove it. As always, ask and we shall (try our very best to) deliver!

I myself CANNOT WAIT to dominate each and every one of their kiddos in all of the aforementioned high-stakes games – especially rock-climbing! Oh, in case you weren’t aware, I have quite the reputation for being the first one up a wall without the need for help from anyone…

Eric - ImpactCR

Join us, won’t you?

Who: You, and if you so wish, your kids (I suppose you could bring someone else’s kids but ask the parents first maybe?)

What: Siren Wednesday, hosted by impactCR

Where: Planet X | 4444 1st Ave NE #3001, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

When: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014.