The Big Table: Greater Peoria 

The Big Table: Greater Peoria launched in 2019 as a day of regional community building through conversations designed to strengthen and connect communities. By continuing these open, thoughtful
conversations that focus on how we can strengthen our region, we will spark new relationships and new ways of working together by deepening our understanding of each other and what our region needs.

Insider tip: Make sure to sign up early so you secure a spot for all four-days, your opinion is important and matters! 

The 2020 Virtual Big Table: Greater Peoria 

The Big Table: Greater Peoria will host a virtual four-day community-building event to discuss progress and new challenges facing the region. 

Residents through the region are invited to take a seat at the 2nd Annual Big Table: Greater Peoria to share their voice and vision for their communities during a series of focused conversations on Oct 19-22, 2020 from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. The sessions will be hosted virtually over ZOOM. 

Following up on last year’s event which had over 700 community members participate, this event is intended to continue to push those conversations forward, discuss progress, and address new challenges that many of us may be facing. The goal of The Big Table is to generate a shared regional vision through a series of open, thoughtful conversations and an exchange of diverse ideas and perspectives. Participants will have the chance to share their thoughts and experiences and discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by their communities. 

The event organizers—a collection of twelve community and economic development organizations—hope hundreds of residents will again take part in one or more of the facilitated conversation sessions where participants will discuss workforce and education, entrepreneurship and innovation, diversity, equity and inclusion, and quality of life. Each of these focused conversations will include progress updates and introductory presentations by community leaders and professionals involved in those efforts. Zoom breakout rooms will be utilized to help participants continue conversations and make connections. 

“As our nation sits firmly at an inflection point, our future depends on our willingness to lean into the work of creating a more equitable Peoria Region and one that works for all of us,” said Joshua Gunn, President & CEO of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce & CEO Council. “The strength of The Big Table is not only the important work that happens as a result of this collaboration, but the collaboration itself; people from every facet of our community, all working together towards a common goal, is a massive achievement in itself, and one that we are proud to support.” 

"The conversations started at last year's Big Table have already helped focus our organization's work and shape our strategy for the future," said Chris Setti, CEO of the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council. "We are excited to share progress on initiatives, such as Distillery Labs, and continue the conversations needed to keep moving our region forward." 

2020 Schedule: 

Monday, October 19:
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Tuesday, October 20: 
Workforce & Education
Wednesday, October 21: 
Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Thursday, October 22: 
Quality of Life & Place

Registration for the event is free but required. All are welcome to participate in individual sessions or the entire program. Event details and registration are available at 

The organizations involved in planning the event include the CEO Council, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Peoria Hispanic Chamber, Black Business Alliance, Morton Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council, East Peoria Chamber of Commerce, Pekin Chamber of Commerce, Washington Chamber of Commerce, and the Peoria Heights Chamber of Commerce.

Big Table 2020 Flyer

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. 

Watch Past Big Table: Gather Around Justice Discussions

June 23 Panel Discussion

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 here


Mariah Cooley - Young Revolution

Sheriff Brian Asbell - Peoria County

Dr. Rita Ali - ICC, Peoria City Council

Moderated by Andre Allen - Higher Education Administration 

August 6 - Criminal Justice Reform

Watch the recording of this discussion here


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

Car Holloway - Executive Director of MAY-I Outreach

Moderated by Brent Baker - Director of Workforce Solutions, GPEDC

September 15 - HR & Organizational Policies

Watch the recording of this discussion here


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

Moderated by: Brian Ray - Regional President at PNC Bank

Big Table: Gather Around Justice

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