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Marketing Sweats Podcast Season 8: Building Business Through Community

It’s hard to believe we’ve completed another season of Marketing Sweats, our podcast hosted by Simantel co-owner and principal Misty Dykema. Over the course of seven seasons, we’ve talked with many marketers, business consultants, authors and speakers across the country. But this season we kept it a little closer to home, talking to local leaders right here in Peoria about the massive movement underway to help our community grow called Choose Greater Peoria.

The power of collaboration is real, and there’s no one better suited to strengthen a community than the leaders within it. Greater Peoria has everything we need to prosper. And local leaders are stepping up to help make it happen. It’s not just another marketing campaign. Since the Choose Greater Peoria initiative launched in May 2023, leaders from over 25 businesses, civic organizations, nonprofits, educational institutions and even government officials have put their differences aside to work together to create positive change.

It’s impossible to highlight every individual investing their time, treasure and talent to build our community up. But nine amazing Peorians sat down to share their stories. Listen to learn why these leaders are so passionate about Greater Peoria and how they’re championing the hands-on approach to help our region (and people) thrive for the long haul.

Local Leaders Championing Greater Peoria


Episode 1: Engaging the Business Community with Laura Cullinan President, Gilmore Foundation

Laura is a driving force connecting the dots and facilitating collaboration among community leaders to pave the way for intentional conversations to improve the livability of Greater Peoria.




Episode 2: Leading a Museum and Inspiring a Community with John Morris
President & CEO, Peoria Riverfront Museum

John is the first native Peorian to ever lead the museum. He and his team have made it their mission to build confidence and spark learning to unleash the full talent and potential of every visitor.



Episode 3: Building Leaders Through Athletics with Dr. Chris Reynolds
Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, Bradley University

Chris is passionate about helping young people develop and sees athletics as a tool to learn valuable skills and lessons that really make a difference in life beyond sports.




Episode 4: Supporting Community Growth Through Integrated Health Care with Bob Sehring
CEO, OSF HealthCare

Bob is a steward for building a continuum of care for patients throughout their lifespan and making Peoria a destination medical center for the highest levels of care.




Episode 5: Leading a Health System with Dr. Keith Knepp
President, Carle Health Greater Peoria

A founding member of the Greater Peoria Leadership Council, Dr. Knepp is as committed to bringing leaders across the community together to steer key strategic initiatives as he is to expanding the depth and breadth of healthcare services available in the region.




Episode 6: Attracting Business and Strengthening a Region with Chris Setti
CEO, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council

Chris is an outspoken advocate for Greater Peoria and has spent the majority of his career working to build partnerships and drive coordinated efforts to advance the region’s economy.




Nikki RomainEpisode 7: Empowering Women and Youth Through Art with Nikki Romain
Executive Director, ART Inc.

Nikki’s talent as an actor, singer, writer and voice-over artist has taken her many places. Yet she feels right at home in Peoria and is committed to inspiring and empowering her community through arts, education and culture.



Episode 8: Ensuring Charitable Donations are Well Invested with Jennifer Zammuto
President, Heart of Illinois United Way

Jennifer is a true servant leader, actively involved with a number of local organizations. That’s on top of her day job leading one of the area’s most unique nonprofits that works to help improve the lives of all individuals in our community.



Greg BattonEpisode 9: Making Connections and Bringing Joy with Greg Batton
Entertainer & Co-host of The Greg and Dan Show

Greg is a firm believer that giving back to the community is life’s best reward. In fact, he even has a personal motto, “Do good. Be nice. Go home. Repeat.” What’s not to love about that?



That’s a Wrap – For Now

We hope you enjoy listening to this season of the podcast as much as we did producing it. Peoria has some pretty incredible leaders who genuinely care about this region. And together, they’re working hard to make Greater Peoria even greater.

Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode of Marketing Sweats. We’d love to hear what you think! Give us a review or leave a comment with your feedback.

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