PowerPlayer: Blackstone Valley Chamber’s Jeannie Hebert
Monday, March 18, 2013
From your involvement with the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce, what are three things you've learned about Central Mass residents that most people don't know?
1.) Contrary to some reports that there is a negative attitude among many of the residents in Central Massachusetts, I find this not to be so. There is much pride in those who are born and raised here and given a chance to contribute, they want to work for the success of the region.
2.) Especially here in the Blackstone Valley, when the chips are down, there is a kind of camaraderie to rally to get the job done. So many huge initiatives are in the works, and I am pleased to say that I receive phone calls and e-mails from residents to inquire about the progress and to offer their support.
3.)Collaboration is the key. Everything we do here is through collaboration. New Englanders do not know state borders when it comes to urban projects. Because the Blackstone Valley crosses Massachusetts and Rhode Island we partner successfully with residents of both states.
It has been a true roller coaster ride, lots of ups and downs. I do see slow but steady growth. The development along the Route 146 corridor has opened up many possibilities for economic development and there are several projects in the works. I also see that the art of doing business has changed dramatically. Everything is different, we must change to grow. That being said, success in growth sometimes also means we need to go backwards in order to move forward. Many of our progressive initiatives are revisiting the way we used to do things and reinstituting them. Examples: the downtown Worcester revitalization including the reopening of Front Street, repurposing buildings to bring the people back to downtown. In our Valley towns, we are excited about our partnership with the WRTA to bring transportation back to move residents around the Valley and of course utilizing the rail system again. Our partnership with Quinsigamond Community College has the business community and residents excited about the possibility of a satellite campus in our own backyard. The recent groundbreaking of the continuation of the bike/greenway is so positive for the area. These developments prove to me that the business environment is moving in the right direction.
Take us through a day in your life.
I rise very early, 4:30-5:00 a.m., spend time with my handicapped dog, exercise, scan the news and get to work. There my days are never the same. I always begin with a plan, but the adage, “Men make plans and God laughs” certainly rings true. Most days begin with an 8:00 a.m. meeting, on or off site. Our members' needs come first. I check messages, address those, meet with my small but incredible staff, answer calls and e-mails, depending on the need, write reports, investigate funding, work with my BOD and legislators (I sit on the Governor’s Small Business Roundtable), continue to follow the progression of projects and initiatives, sometimes end the day attending meetings or Chamber events, leave the office most evenings around 7:30 – 8:00 p.m. Long day but it works for me!
Most notably there’s lots to do, little time and small staff. We all work a lot at the Chamber, but it is the nature of the beast. The challenge is to meet the needs and get the jobs done. There is no greater pleasure than seeing a project through to completion that at first seemed hopeless. I am pretty proud of what we do and the services we provide at the BVCC.
Tell us something nobody knows about you.
Well some people know that I had four rescued African elephants live with me for two years before we were able to place them in appropriate forever homes. Willie, the largest fella, now lives at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and last year he presented me with a grandbaby elephant named Jabali. We go to visit him every year.
Role Models: My late mother, Stella Mastrogiovanni, Anthropologist, Dr. Jane Goodall, Chér and all strong women.
Best Place to People Watch: The Blackstone Valley Home and Business Expo
Best Book You've Read in the Last Year: “My Mother Was Nuts” -- Penny Marshall’s Autobiography
Advice for the Next Jeannie Hebert: Get some sleep.
- PowerPlayer: Businessman Rob Branca
- PowerPlayer: Community Activist Chris Horton
- PowerPlayer: The Canal District’s John Giangregorio
- PowerPlayer: The Hanover Theatre’s Troy Siebels
- PowerPlayer: United Way CEO Tim Garvin
- PowerPlayer: Bay State Savings Bank CEO Peter Alden
Enjoy this post? Share it with others.
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.