Category: Uncategorized

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 | Bata’s

Whew!  I am so sorry for the extended vacation and lack of posts lately.  The ImpactCR board has been super busy planning some awesome new programing (I’m looking at you Big Decision Series) and putting final touches on some of your current favorites!

Speaking of favorites… have you been to Bata’s yet?  This place is definitely in my top 3.  Crazy delicious food, fabulously intimate setting and great service… what more could you ask for?!  Hosting Siren Wednesday there TODAY?  Sure, why not?!


You heard the sirens, you remembered that ImpactCR is hosting Siren Wednesday and now you want some details…

Who:  You (Maybe bring a friend, or 2)

Where: Bata’s | 1006 3rd Ave in the NewBo District

When: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Today, April 2nd

I, for one, am looking forward to tonight’s Siren event.  See you there!

Salsa Siren


I know I’m not the only one who heard those sirens blaring on their way to work this morning! That’s right friends! It’s another Siren Wednesday and who would we be if we didn’t have something up our sleeve for tonight’s networking event at Gringo’s.

In addition to a pretty awesome Taco bar, Tallis Strub of Cannon Studios will be there to help us get in the Mexican mood with a little salsa action! For more information about Tallis visit her website. She will begin a beginner lesson at 7pm and will get you movin’ and groovin’ while you network.

For more information visit our event page here. !

As always, Siren will be from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Tonight’s venue is Gringo’s! See you there!

Young Professional Profile: Katie Johnson

I’m so excited to kick off our newest feature here on the ImpactCR Blog!  We love everything about young professionals and thought we should put some faces out there of people who are active in the ImpactCR community and {bias aside} pretty awesome.  To start, I thought we should tell you about our fearless leader, Katie Johnson.  


Katie J Profile


What is your job title, and what are your daily responsibilities?

  • Marketing Manager at Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa
  • Full time student, Masters of Social Work, University of Iowa

At JAEI, I am responsible for marketing, branding and promotions. Things like web site updates, event promotions, information dissemination, press releases, etc. I am also currently in the Masters of Social Work program at the University of Iowa where responsibilities are to read, read, write and (this semester) intern at the St. Luke’s Child Protection Center.

How did you get to where you are today with your career?

In my time working in the non-profit world I’ve been lucky to work with a multitude of volunteers, board members and co-workers who have taught me many lessons in leadership, work ethic and organization. They’ve pushed me to continue to improve.

What are your top tips for other young professionals?

  • Try something that makes you uncomfortable or intimidates you – e.g., attend a networking event and talk to strangers, volunteer for a project you don’t have much experience in, join a group (like ImpactCR!) you’ve been putting off, etc. You learn so much about yourself outside of your comfort zone, and meet inspirational people when you least expect it.
  • Keep your attitude/outlook in check. Too often I find myself thinking self-defeating thoughts that do nothing but waste time and halt progress. When you’re head is right, good things come!

What is your role with ImpactCR?

Chair of the Board of Advisors

How many miles away are you from your hometown?

Approximately 12 miles

Besides being active with ImpactCR, what is your favorite thing to do in Cedar Rapids?

Just one favorite?!?! When the weather cooperates I love running the Cedar Valley Nature Trail. It cuts through so many great points in the city. I also have a great relationship with food, and enjoy trying out any and all eateries here in CR.

Thanks Katie! I love the first tip about doing something uncomfortable or that intimidates you.  You can grow and learn so much about yourself by stepping outside of your comfort zone.  Have you gotten where you are today by taking on a project or opportunity that was a little intimidating or uncomfortable?  We’d love to hear about it!  I can’t wait to see who will be next on our YP Profile!  Do you have someone you want to know about?  Feel free to nominate a young pro that interests you.


Not Appropriate for Work – Ugly Holiday Sweater Party Recap

To save face for all those involved, this may not be appropriate to view at work.  What am I saying?!  Of course it is!  No one can put on a horrifically ugly holiday sweater and really expect that they are going to get away with it.  Which is why I was in full force Saturday night gathering all sorts of evidence… aka pictures.  To post on here.  That’s right!  For those of you who were brave enough to participate in the Best of Ugly walk off at our Annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest, I have proof that you deserve to be on the Worst Dressed List.  Don’t fret… for this party, it’s a good thing!

If you missed what was probably the most epic Ugly Holiday Sweater Party yet, here are a few pictures from the contest.  For those of you who might have participated in the contest, don’t be nervous.  They are not that bad.  (Please pardon the evil eyes.  Taking pictures in zero light with an iPhone flash is not the greatest idea I’ve ever had.)

Now please… sit back, relax and enjoy the feature presentation!

Thank you to all of the Fire and Ice Festival sponsors, the Metro Economic Alliance, Hoopla, Freedom Festival, RuffaloCODY, Dublin City Pub,  Z102.9, DJ Lady J, Clare from the Schulte & Swann Morning Show, and Tyler Ryder.

All in all, it was a successful night.  Think you have what it takes to win next year?  I think you do!  So start planning the greatest ugly holiday outfit now, and we’ll see you in 2013!

INTRODUCING! NEW 2013 Advisory Board Members

I have a pretty big HUGE announcement.  Drumroll please… (long drumroll sound)

We have six, yes I said SIX, new ImpactCR board members for the 2013 school year!  Don’t get me wrong, it is always sad to see our stellar board members roll off at the end of each year.  But, you can’t deny that new members brings fresh faces, ideas and A WHOLE LOT of fresh new energy.  The following six young pros are no exception!

Congratulations to our newest members of the 2013 ImpactCR Advisory Board:


Tera Edmunds | Skywalk Group

Jen Germaine

Jennifer Germaine | Day Rettig Peiffer, P.C.

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson | Geonetric

Ron Maxa

Ron Maxa | Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust

Kaitlin Oswood Headshot

Kaitlin Oswood | Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation

Elizabeth Hladky

Elizabeth Schott | The Gazette Company

We have high expectations for all of you!  Just kidding… no pressure! 😉  We can’t wait to see what each one of you brings to the table, we know it will be great!

A HUGE thank you to those who served over the past year (and previous years)!  Because of you, we have accomplished some AMAZING projects in the past year.  We hate to see you go, but we know you will always be some of our biggest advocates.  Thank you for your service and dedication to our organization.  Stay tuned to see what we have in store for 2013!  I foresee some very exciting projects in the future.

Wait… don’t go… I’m getting another vision.  I’m seeing each of you in some really awesome ugly sweaters at an Irish pub downtown tomorrow night.  Oh!  That’s right!  Tomorrow is our Ugly Holiday Sweater Party at Dublin City Pub at 7 p.m. and at 8 p.m. the “Best of Ugly” walk-off!  See you there!  I have my sweater already, do you?!