Above: Panel at the 2018 Women of Influence Forum: Dr. Sara Rusch, Tana Utley, Banu Hatfield, Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey
It’s been an exciting month here at Peoria Magazines! We kicked it off by inducting our 26th class of 40 Leaders Under Forty on November 4. Three days later, we hosted a reception for Imaging, the art exhibition currently on display in our office featuring six Peoria-based women of color. If you haven’t seen it yet, the exhibit will be up through December 24. Please stop by and check it out—it’s absolutely stunning.
Our team has been working hard on this issue all month, and we congratulate our 2019 Women of Influence honorees. We also want to thank Christie Newell of Sonshine Portrait Design for the terrific portraits! She has been our Women of Influence photographer for the last five years, and we are grateful to share her talents with you. (Learn more at
Of course, we’ve also been finalizing plans for the 2019 Women of Influence Forum taking place on Wednesday, December 4. Most of the program has been in place for a while, but we only received confirmation of our guest VIP speaker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, on November 21—just one day before going to print. We’re so excited to welcome her to Peoria! Many thanks to Brad McMillan of the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service at Bradley University for bringing us together.
The 2019 Women of Influence Forum will focus on the topic of diversity and inclusion, and we have a superb lineup of guest speakers and breakout sessions. New this year, we partnered with Junior Achievement to allow more than 100 students from Peoria Public Schools to attend. They will get a taste of what a professional conference is like, and we hope to inspire them on their future paths! For tickets or more information, visit peoriamagazines.com/woi.
Can you believe it’s December already?! The year has just flown by, and we accomplished so much. Most notably, we launched this magazine—Peoria Magazine—in April, merging our former business and arts/culture publications into one brand-new, city/regional magazine. Your feedback has been phenomenal throughout, and we are grateful for your support.
And now, onward into 2020! Our January issue will focus on health and wellness. We’re also working on the next issue of Peoria Progress, as well as a special publication recapping The Big Table event held in October. There’s a lot of exciting news to come… so stay tuned. We hope you and your families have a very happy holiday season! PS
—Jonathan Wright, Editor-In-Chief