Leadership is alive and well in Greater Peoria, as we continue to witness in our 40 Leaders Under Forty each November. Once again, we had a record number of nominations, demonstrating the commitment of young professionals to our region. “I don’t personally know the nominees this year,” remarked one of our judges. “But what remarkable things they are accomplishing!”
This is our community. It’s where we have put down roots—where we want to ensure success for our children and grandchildren. Look through the family photos of this new class of leaders… They are proud parents, raising their children here. No doubt some of those children will be future leaders in Greater Peoria: second-generation 40 Leaders Under Forty.
In fact, that happened for the first time this year. Twenty-three years ago, Diane Cullinan Oberhelman was honored in our first class of 40 Leaders; this year, her son Allen is being recognized. They are our first parent/child recipients: a true legacy for this program.
Last year, Diane was our 40 Leaders Alumnus of the Year; this year, it’s Judge James Shadid, a native Peorian who delivers a candid and thoughtful interview in this issue, thanking his parents, mentors and the community leaders who believed in him. “None of us can attribute our successes solely to our own devices,” he explains. “Somewhere along the way, someone opened a door, inspired us, helped us, assisted us, encouraged us, mentored us, or in some fashion played an instrumental part in shaping our lives. We need to be that for others.” That’s good advice, Judge. We thank you for your public service.
This year, we took our 40 Leaders to various locations around town for group photos. Many thanks to RLI, the Caterpillar Visitors Center, OSF and Jump Simulation, Farnsworth Group and Bradley University—along with the rest of our sponsors—for their continued support and commitment to recognizing our region’s young leaders.
Over the past year, I’ve often thought about what leadership means to me, how I live it, and most importantly, the examples being set for our youth. As we applaud another class of young leaders, I challenge myself and all our readers to remember that our words and actions have significance. Each of us has an opportunity to impact not only our own destiny, but that of our families, our friends and our community. It’s our choice to make a positive impact. iBi