The Hispanic Chamber’s director Janessa Calderon is recognized for outstanding leadership and community service.

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The St. Ambrose University Colleges of Health and Human Services, Arts and Sciences, and Business each honored alumni last Friday, Oct. 22, for outstanding leadership, scholarship and community service in their professional and personal lives.

Each College recognized a Distinguished Alumni and an Emerging Leader.

The alumni that was recognized embody the values and outcomes of a St. Ambrose mission-driven education that sparks creativity, critical-thinking, and dedication to a higher purpose. Committed to lifelong learning and academic excellence, these Ambrosians are propelled by purpose and serve ethically and intentionally in the region and throughout the country.

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Among the honorees is Janessa Calderon the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce executive director.

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Janessa Calderon ’16, ’19 MOL, received the Emerging Leader Award. She is executive director of the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; a member of the Community Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee for Genesis Hospital; the Diversity and Equity Committee for UnityPoint Health-Trinity; the QC COVID-19 Coalition group; an active board member for Q2030; and volunteers throughout the region through the Leadher mentorship program and other women-empowering networking groups.

Calderon started working for the chamber in 2018 as the program and events manager, and quickly progressed to engagement coordinator. Now, as the top leader of the organization, she is helping minority business owners thrive through chamber programs, outreach and opportunities. Calderon supports and serves local businesses, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and individuals in the area through networking, advocacy, and leadership. She is building partnerships and shaping the region into a more inclusive and collaborative environment.

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Calderon chose to build on her SAU Bachelor of Arts degree in Strategic Communication with a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership, and worked closely with Professor of Marketing Ronald Wastyn, PhD.

“One of our aspirations for our graduates is they recognize that leadership is not a role or position of authority but rather an activity that engages people and communities to confront their common challenges,” he said. “In her work with the Hispanic Chamber she demonstrates everyday her commitment to the activity of leading. She remains focused on helping the Hispanic community to achieve their aspirations and as such lifts all the Quad Cities.”

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