skip to Main Content

Many Voices. One Vision.



The Big Table is a day of 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.

WHEN: October 15, 2019

WHERE: Peoria Civic Center


8:30 – 10:00am: Workforce Development & Education

Session Leaders:
Dr. Sheila Quirk Bailey, President, Illinois Central College
Clinton Drury, Executive Director, West Central Building & Trades
Brent Baker, Director of Workforce Solutions, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council

10:15 – 11:45am: Quality of Life & Place

Session Leaders:
Steve Zika, Co-Founder & COO, Natural Fiber Welding
Seshadri Guha, CEO & Founder, Tada Cognitive Solutions
Joe Buckner, Director of Product Engineering, Autonomoustuff

11:45 – 1:00pm: Lunch (on your own)

Explore downtown and its many dining options.

1:15 – 2:45pm: Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Session Leaders:
Leigh Ann Brown, Executive Director, Morton Chamber of Commerce and EDC
J.D. Dalfonso, CEO, Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
Jeff Kolbus, President, RE/MAX Traders Unlimited

3:00 – 4:30pm: Diversity & Inclusion

Session Leaders:
Brian Ray, Regional CEO, PNC
Rita Ali, Vice President of Diversity and Community Impact, ICC
Christell Frausto, President, Peoria Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

4:30 – 6:30pm: Community Vision

A wrap-up of the day’s discussions with free appetizers and a cash bar.


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

Many tables, 8-12 seats at each table.
Each session will be 1.5 hours in length.

This event is free to attend. Registration is required.


Each session will consist of 4 main parts:

  1. Panel of facilitators present a high-level overview of the topic (10-15 minutes)
  2. Table discussion covering a set of questions. Notes will be taken at each table (30-40 minutes)
  3. Tables present the notes from their discussion (30 minutes)
  4. Quick recap and adjournment (5 minutes)

Be a Table Facilitator

Serving as a table facilitator is a great way to get involved. Facilitators will help guide each table and keep them on task.

Join the Conversation

Sign up for any and all sessions that you are passionate about. Bring your ideas. Be bold. Be a good listener.


  • Who should attend?
    ANYONE that wants to be part of the conversation and voice opinions about our Region. EVERYONE is invited to the Community Vision portion at the end of the day!
  • How many sessions can I attend?
    You can elect which session(s) you would like to attend or stay for the full day if you like.
  • Who will be sitting at my table?
    Participants will be randomly assigned to a table. This will be an opportunity to connect and converse with people in the community that you might not normally get the chance to interact with.
  • What should I wear?
    Dress casual and comfortable.
  • Where should I park?
    The Peoria Civic Center offers paid parking for $7. On-street parking is also available throughout downtown Peoria.
  • What’s for lunch?
    Lunch will not be provided, but concessions will be available for purchase. We encourage you to dine at one of the many local establishments within a short drive or walk from the event.


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


The conversation will live on beyond this day. Armed with the outcomes, challenges, and ideas raised at this event, it is up to all of us to continue the discussion in our community.

This event is brought to you by:

Black Business Alliance
Back To Top