fbpx skip to Main Content


A hearty thank you to everyone that joined the Big Table conversations! We are excited and invigorated for the future of Greater Peoria! We know a lot to be done, but we know what to do and how to do it. We are going to work towards our joint goals as a region and community!  Check back for a recap and report of the event! 

To all our facilitators, sponsors, and partner organizations, we couldn’t have done this without you! Thank you for lending your time and resources to this important collaborative effort!


The Big Table promotes regional community building through conversations designed to strengthen and connect communities. Through open, thoughtful conversations that focus on how we can strengthen our region, we will spark new relationships and new ways for working together by deepening our understanding of each other and what our region needs.


  • Promote Positivity & Community Input
  • Regional Vision for the Future
  • Regional Data for Everyone


October 19 – 22, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Thanks for joining us at The (Virtual) Big Table 2020! Please find the session videos below.
The 2020 Final Report is available for download below.

Oct 19: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Session Leaders:
Rita Ali, ICC
Brian Ray, PNC
Joshua Gunn, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce

Oct 20: Workforce & Education

Session Leaders:
Dr. Sheila Quirk Bailey, Illinois Central College
Beth Crider, Regional Office of Education
Laraine Bryson, Tri -County Peoria Urban League

Oct 21: Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Session Leaders:
Chris Setti, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council
Jake Hamann, Peoria Innovation Alliance/Distillery Labs
Samantha Hutchinson, Bear’s Bites
Eric Sampson, Illinois SBDC

Oct 22: Quality of Life

Session Leaders:
Nikki Romain, ART Inc
J.D. Dalfonso, Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
John Morris, Peoria Riverfront Museum


These conversations resulted in The Big Table: Greater Peoria Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is a regional planning document. The CEDS is a tool for organizing and coordinating economic development goals for the Central Illinois region that includes Logan, Mason, Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties. You can learn more about the strategy, progress being made and download a copy of the strategy below.

Participants from all over our region are invited to attend!
The map below shows all the counties that were represented at the 2020 event.

Many Voices. One Vision.


The Big Table: Gather Around Justice

The Big Table: Gather Around Justice seeks to foster mindful conversation around how we can use our individual power and privilege to make the changes our region needs to correct historic racial, economic, and social inequities.

HR & Organizational Policies

Welcome & Introduced by:
Joshua Gunn – President & CEO, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce

Moderated by:
Brian Ray – Regional President at PNC Bank

Laraine Bryson – President at Tri-County Urban League
Tom Alexander – Co-Founder & CEO at Holistic & Consultant at Distillery Labs
Eric Sutter – Senior Vice President of HR at EP!C

Criminal Justice Reform

Welcome & Introduced by:
Joshua Gunn – President & CEO, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce

Moderated by:
Brent Baker – Director of Workforce Solutions, GPEDC

Chris McCall – Family & Criminal Defense Attorney
Johanes Maliza – Central District Assistant Federal Public Defender
Nia Mcfarland-Drye -Mitigation Specialist for Central District Federal Public Defender Office/NAACP
Carl Holloway – Executive Director of MAY-I Outreach

Panel Discussion

Mariah Cooley – Young Revolution
Sheriff Brian Asbell – Peoria County
Dr. Rita Ali – ICC, Peoria City Council

Moderated by Andre Allen – Higher Education Administration

On June 23, our panelists and community gathered virtually for mindful conversations around how we can use our individual power and privilege to make the changes our region needs to correct historic racial, economic, and social inequities.  Watch the recording of this discussion to the right.


The inaugural Big Table Greater Peoria  event took place on October 15, 2019 and attracted over 700 attendees. The survey data and qualitative input collected at the event has been analyzed and compiled into a report.

Sign up below to receive updates.

Submit an event, meeting, initiative, or idea for us to share.


Workforce Development & Education

Quality of Life & Place

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Diversity & Inclusion


Conversation Guide
Conversation Guide
Social Media Tips
Social Media Tips
Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet
Regional Data
Regional Data

The Big Table Greater Peoria is supported by:

Black Business Alliance
Back To Top