Chamber Vice President of Finance Jennifer Bronner represented Macon as a nationwide recipient of a full scholarship from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at the New Growth Innovation Network’s Inaugural Cityscapes Summit held in Durham, North Carolina from May 15-17, 2024. With the theme of “Igniting Inclusive Economies,” the summit brought together small and midsized city leaders together for big impact ideas on inclusive economies. Keynote speakers included Arlo Washington, the visionary founder of Arkansas’ first Black-owned bank, and the inspiration behind the Oscar-nominated documentary, “The Barber of Little Rock” and Bree Newsome Bass, filmmaker, musician, public speaker, and passionate advocate for racial and economic justice.

Jennifer had the opportunity to connect with Lilly Weinberg, Senior Director of Community and National Initiatives for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Weinberg served as the moderator for a panel session entitled “Charting the Future of Small and Midsized Cities,” where three leaders working in small and midsized cities discussed how they are igniting inclusive growth locally.

Jennifer says her experience set the stage to connect and learn from others in broadening the impact of a community-based economic development organizations, like our Chamber, to move the needle in economic vitality for all. “To know that there are so many organizations around the country that are partnering with their local governments and non-profits to advance inclusive economic development and ensure that economically disenfranchised individuals can benefit from regional economic prosperity is inspiring,” she said. Energized by these new ideas, Jennifer and her Chamber colleagues are already discussing ways in which their organization can collaborate to ignite inclusive economies in Central Georgia.