On November 6, we announced our Incoming Chair for 2014 at our Make Your Mark Siren Wednesday – Jennifer Germaine. HUGE Congratulations to Jennifer on her new role with ImpactCR and being awarded the Make Your Mark Award!
You recently moved from Omaha, what brought you to Cedar Rapids?
I am originally from Vinton, Iowa. I never thought I would move back to Cedar Rapids, but after living in Omaha for several years, I was ready to come back home. I came back to be closer to family, good friends, and my family’s cabin on the Mississippi River. I’m an avid boater and missed the water dearly! I also love my job – I’m an attorney with Day Rettig Peiffer, P.C. practicing in the areas of benefit plans (healthcare and retirement), corporate and estate planning.
How did you come to be involved with ImpactCR?
Originally, I joined ImpactCR for the networking. I was looking to meet other young professionals in the area. A couple of months later, I was introduced to Beth Malicki and the idea of the Next Gen. Summit. A few months later we held the first Summit. It seems like such a whirlwind looking back but I was hooked from that point on! I joined the ImpactCR board of advisors the next January.
The Next Gen. Summit has become a premier event for young professionals in the Creative Corridor. What role have you played in creating this event the past two years?
I guess you can say I was one of the founders of the idea. I went to the Omaha Young Professionals Summit multiple years while living in Omaha and wanted to have something similar in Eastern Iowa. I remember initially meeting with Beth Malicki about the summit and her indicating it would be a small exclusive event for approximately 100 people. I told her I envisioned it being much bigger. We ended up engaging EPIC from Iowa City to join us in planning the Summit too. We had over 300 people attend the first half-day Summit. I was also the Co-Chair for the all-day Next Gen. Summit that occurred October 1, 2013. We, once again, had approximately 300 attendees. We are already planning for the 2014 Summit. Attendees should expect an even bigger and better day from last year!
Congratulations on your recent nomination as incoming chair for ImpactCR! Do you have any specific goals for the Board of Advisors over the next two years?
I have so many goals! One goal I have is a very simplistic goal, but one that is very dear to my heart and to the core of ImpactCR – to get more young professionals and next geners to engage in our events and the Corridor. I want to make sure each and every person that attends an ImpactCR event feels welcome, inspired, and excited to be working/living in the Corridor. Also, ImpactCR is much more than just a networking group. ImpactCR provides leadership, professional and personal development, service opportunities and cultural engagement in the community. Enhancing those features within the organization by continuing current programing and/or reinventing what is currently offered is another goal I have. Oh, and let’s not forget the Next Gen. Summit! That is guaranteed to become even bigger and better for 2014!!!! Get ready!!
What advice do you have for young professionals?
Force yourself outside of your comfort zone. The feeling of accomplishment you get after you achieve a goal/task that you initially thought was impossible is worth every bit of torture you went through by putting yourself out there. Reaching further than you think possible is one of the greatest ways to develop yourself.
I also truly believe in the art of networking. I take time to learn about people from all walks of life and am genuinely interested in everyone’s life story. I have been repeatedly surprised at which contacts have taken me places in my professional career, as well as personally, that I never expected.
What is your favorite thing to do or place to go in the Creative Corridor?
I love so many things about the Creative Corridor! NewBo Market, the Newbo area in general, and the restaurants and entertainment venues in downtown Cedar Rapids are some of my favorite places. I love heading out on the trails at Indian Creek during the summer and the downtown Farmers Market. I also adore the new Federal Courthouse and feel so lucky to be an attorney that gets to practice in such a beautiful building (spoken like a true attorney!!)!
Thank you so much Jennifer! We all appreciate the hard work you have put into the Next Gen. Summit over the last two years. I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!