Breaking News | Next Gen Summit Keynote


In case you are new to Cedar Rapids, just getting into the workforce, or are finally getting in touch with ImpactCR you should probably know that we co-host a little thing we like to call Next Gen Summit or NGS with EPIC.  First of all, if you don’t know what NGS is, it is a day long conference devoted to providing young pros with professional and personal development with breakout sessions on topics like entrepreneurship, leadership skills, social media, and so much more that I’m not going to tell you because you need to register and attend to find out. 😉 There are so many reasons why you and all other young professionals should know why NGS is kind of a big deal.  Number one… not to brag or anything, but we have two amazing keynotes lined up for this year’s NGS 2014.

Speaking of keynotes, we are SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED AND HONORED to announce our midday keynote is… drumroll please… Tana Goertz.  You may know her as a finalist and overall winner of the Street Smarts Team on NBC’s “The Apprentice” with none other than Donald Trump.  Mr. Trump quotes her as being a woman that has,”that rare combination of laid-back charm and razor sharp execution. She doesn’t put up with nonsense,” (In Touch Weekly).

Now that you’re all like, “OK.  Cool.  An internationally-recognized reality star, entrepreneur, speaker, radio talk show host, author, project manager and business coach with a passion for people is going to come talk to us, but what does she do when she’s not hanging out with Donald.”  So,  I’m really not sure that she hangs out with Mr. Trump, but just sayin’… she did for 18 weeks.

Currently, Tana is sharing her message to “go out and be unforgettable.”  Through her speaking engagements, Tana shares her tips on how to succeed in business and in life.  She has become an accomplished professional speaker who aims to educate, motivate and inspire people to take action immediately through her highly energetic presentations.  She also hosts a weekly radio segment titled, “Hey Tana Time” where she shares practical solutions to listeners’ everyday situations.

Be sure to follow Tana leading up to the conference via Facebook and Twitter.

Next Gen Summit will be held on October 1st, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Cedar Rapids Convention Complex.  To register, click here.  This year’s Next Gen. Summit presenting sponsor is Kaplan University.  Supporting sponsors are University of Iowa Community Credit Union and Van Meter Inc.

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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!

Are you ready to get UGLY??

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so you know what that means!  It’s time to get UGLY.  That’s right!  Our Members and Mixers committee has been preparing all year for this night.  OK… maybe not all year, but I sure have!  Our annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Party is two short weeks away and you know you want to be there!

The Winners of the Night!

The Winners of the Night!

Last year’s Ugly Holiday Sweater party was pretty epic and there’s no doubt that this year’s event will be filled with even more shenanigans.   Is Christmas time your favorite and you don’t care who knows it?  Find your best ugliest holiday sweater and strut your stuff on the runway for a chance to win some really awesome prizes.  Don’t forget your reindeer antlers, jingle bells and Santa boxers!  Now that your head is spinning with AWESOME ideas, get that outfit together and make plans to join us!

Gather your friends and family (dressed in their ugliest, of course) and head down to Dublin City Pub from 7 – 10 p.m. on December 7th, right after the Fire and Ice Parade.  Contest begins at 8 p.m. sharp, so don’t be late!  (Contest entry is just $5.)

Young Professional Profile | Jennifer Germaine


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!

Make Your Mark Awards 2013


As you know, last Wednesday we held our annual Make Your Mark event at CSPS to celebrate you, our members and to recognize a few who are pretty outstanding in our eyes. Congratulations to the following members for all you do for our organization and for your local community:

Leadership Award | Rebecca Sullens

The Leadership Award is presented to a member who encourages others to connect to the community through ImpactCR programs and events. Rebecca consistently reaches out to all of our members and makes everyone feel welcome. She understands the importance of diversity in our community and makes a point to help every person find their place here. Rebecca’s upbeat attitude and constant dedication to Cedar Rapids makes her the perfect cheerleader for ImpactCR.

Service Award | Casey Ealy

As a Member of the Leadership and Service Committee, Casey has done some amazing things for our community: from leading an effort to obtain funding for a potential playground project at NewBo, to coordinating and participating in multiple Habitat for Humanity events, to always raising his hand to say, “whatever you need.” Casey works quietly and humbly to do what he thinks is needed to make the corridor a better place to work and live. He exemplifies the spirit of service in our community. (Read Casey’s YP Profile here.)

Make Your Mark Award | Jennifer Germaine

Our first ever Make Your Mark award winner is Jennifer Germaine. Jennifer has helped lead ImpactCR to a new level of engaging and educating the area’s now and next gen. population. As a two year co-chair of the Next Gen Summit steering committee, she has gone above and beyond in her commitment to making the event an empowering experience for all attendees. Jennifer is also a member of the ImpactCR board of advisors and serves as a constant advocate for the organization and for the corridor.

WOW! These three individuals are pretty amazing, don’t you think!? Well you can be too! Join a committee or nominate yourself or someone you think is pretty awesome to be on the ImpactCR board of advisors. (Nomination forms are due November 15th.) How will you Make Your Mark in 2014?

MOvember Mashup | SHAVE The Date


You may have noticed a plethora of beards and ‘stashes being sported for No Shave November or MOvember. While some beards and ‘staches may only be around for 30 days, some wearers hope to make a lasting impression. By not shaving for a cause.

Following a successful event last year, ImpactCR members Ben Anderson and Nate Holler are at it again and are hosting another MOvember party. Come for the mustaches and stay for the football!

Here are the deets:

WHAT | A MOvember party to watch Iowa vs Michigan and raise money for the Hayden Fry Prostate Cancer Research Center at the University of Iowa.

WHERE |Bata’s Restaurant | 1006 3rd St SE in the NewBo District

WHEN | Saturday, November 23rd @ 11:00 A.M.

Sport your best looking ‘stashe or preferred facial hair (no one said it has to be real 😉 ) and join them to watch the Hawks beat the Wolverines. There will be some Hawkeye Trivia, prizes, and complementary appetizers. Don’t forget to bring your checkbook and help them reach their goal of $1000 to donate to cancer research.

Need more info? Email Ben Anderson ( or Nate Holler ( or check out their Facebook event page for more.

Make Your Mark


This has been quite a year for ImpactCR! From the Casino Vote Forum in March, to the many Siren Wednesdays and BLTs to last month’s Next Gen Summit. While the year isn’t quite over, what better way to round out a successful year of networking, service and professional development than with an extra special Siren Wednesday to celebrate you, our members and those who have helped us develop programming and supported our events over the last year?!

How is this event different from our regular Siren Wednesdays? At 6 p.m., we will have a short program that will look back at our accomplishments over the last 10 months and share insights into exciting new programing and changes coming in 2014. We will also acknowledge our outstanding members with a two awards to be presented at the ceremony. Help us congratulate the members who have gone above and beyond to demonstrate volunteerism by participating in our events, committees, etc. and exemplary leadership skills to support and help develop ImpactCR events, by awarding them with our Service and Leadership Awards.

Please join us Wednesday, November 6th at CSPS from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for free appetizers, cash bar and cake! (No party is ever complete without cake!) Please RSVP and register here, to let us know you will be joining our celebration.

A HUGE thank you goes out to our three sponsors: Mediacom, as our presenting sponsor and our two supporting sponsors, Hatch Development Group and RuffaloCody!

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

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