The Big Table, creating regional change through conversation

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Thursday, facilitators wrapped up the last day of The Big Table: Greater Peoria with a call to action.

The four-day event, encourage people around Central Illinois to share visions that will push the region forward. Leaders invited people to the table to uncover issues and create solutions so improvements can be executed as a community.

The topics on the table for discussion included: diversity, equity and inclusion, workforce and education, innovation and entrepreneurship and quality of life. The event usually in person, but this year the coordinators used Zoom.

By building a community of those who seek to inspire each other and are inspired by each other we can increase confidence both individually and collectively in the community.

John Morris, President/CEO Peoria Riverfront Museum

Session leaders opened the event with positive comments about Peoria. Then groups of about six moved to breakout rooms on Zoom.

The event leaders called this program the groundwork. J.D. Dalfonso with the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau said he has witnessed success stories since the first event in 2019.

I used our own story from discover Peoria and I was able to see a woman named Daurice Boneta speak prominently about her hometown and the south end of Peoria. The quality of life that she claimed, I get to hire her and she works for the bureau now.

J.D. Dalfonso President/CEO Enjoy Peoria

Kelly Schneider, one of The Big Table facilitators said different perspective drive the conversations.

“It’s having access to a larger amount of people from different areas, different walks of life that are going to bring a different opinion and different information to the table,” Schneider said.

Participants left the virtual table rejuvenated, informed and ready to spring into action.

“We have to roll up our sleeves and we have to do this together,” Executive Director of Art Inc.’s Nikki Romain said.

J.D. Dalfonso said the proof of progress in the region is not in the data, but in the follow-through.

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