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Public is Invited to Help Create Great in Cedar Valley Schools

Fundraising Campaign Kicks Off to Fund The Leader in Me

(Cedar Valley of Iowa) – Leader Valley, a talent development initiative of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, is asking businesses, individuals and foundations to join in the efforts to equip every student in the Cedar Valley with tools for effectiveness in life and work.  The Create Great fundraising campaign seeks to raise $7 million for the expansion and sustainability of The Leader in Me throughout the Cedar Valley.

The Create Great Campaign will officially kick off at the Alliance & Chamber’s annual New Teachers Breakfast on Aug. 18 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., at Hilton Garden Inn, Cedar Falls.

“Our ultimate goal is for students to be prepared for career, college and citizenship,” says Dr. Linda Allen, president, Hawkeye Community College. “Our businesses here in the Cedar Valley will no doubt see a difference in these young people as they come to work for them. In order to become principled and effective adults, we must foster both character and competence early in the lives of our students.”

Over $1.8 million has already been raised toward the $3.5 million implementation portion of the overall goal. The aim of the Create Great campaign is to extend The Leader in Me’s impact from 21 Cedar Valley schools to 34. This will include PreK-12 public and private schools in the Waterloo and Cedar Falls area. An equal goal of $3.5 million will be raised and placed in an endowment to ensure the sustainability of the initiative for future generations.              

Serving as campaign co-chairs are: Dr. Allen; Dr. Dale Monroe, Chief Administrator, Cedar Valley Catholic Schools; and Tom Penaluna, CEO, CBE Companies. Senator Charles Grassley is the Honorary Campaign Chair.                                               

The Leader in Me aims to fill the gap between traditional school curriculum, and the skills and knowledge employers need in effective employees and organizational leaders. By addressing characteristics and skills such as personal responsibility, accountability, work ethic, teamwork, goal setting, and organization skills, Leader Valley’s investment seeks to enhance the Cedar Valley talent pool and help local businesses become more competitive in the global marketplace.

The campaign kickoff program includes an emphasis on student leadership and empowerment with students serving in leadership roles as emcees, greeters and The Leader in Me booth hosts. Additionally, inspirational comments from business and education leaders will be presented. Current donors to Create Great will also be recognized.

“We are excited to kick off this important fundraising campaign to transform our schools by integrating leadership development and performance into all facets of school cultures in every PreK-12 school in the Waterloo and Cedar Falls area,” said Penaluna. “We encourage business leaders and community members to attend our kickoff event and learn why Leader in Me is a critical element for a well-rounded education to develop the workforce our businesses need. If we wish to Create Great in our Cedar Valley schools, we all have a role.”

Tickets for the event are $40 in advance. Ticket price provides breakfast for one individual and a complimentary breakfast for one new teacher. Please register through the Alliance & Chamber website www.cedarvalleyalliance.com or by contacting Johanna Kneedler at 319-232-1156 or jkneedler@cedarvalleyalliance.com.  Administrators and new teachers do not need to register, but should make arrangements with their respective districts.

The impact and results of The Leader in Me can be found on the Leader Valley website, www.leadervalley.org, along with videos, testimonials and donor information. The fundraising steering committee for Create Great is: Stacey Bentley, Joyce Coil, Bryan Earnest, Chris Fereday, Ben Jacobson, Bob Justis, Reid Koenig, Shanlee McNally, Dr. Victoria Robinson, Tara Thomas, Amy Wienands and Mike Young.

For more information on the Leader Valley initiative and The Leader in Me, contact Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director at the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber by calling 319-232-1156 or by email at mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com. You can also visit www.leadervalley.org.

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Read more by reporter Andrew Wind in the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.

ADVERTISING AGENCIES HRB AND ME&V ANNOUNCE MERGER New corporate name is AMPERAGE

Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls, March 3, 2014—Henry Russell Bruce (HRB) and ME&V Advertising + Consulting today announced the signing of a definitive agreement to merge two of Iowa’s top advertising agencies on April 1. The merger will create a combined company of more than 50 people with offices in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Bettendorf, Iowa.

Joining the firms brings together Jim Thebeau, CEO at HRB and Steve Erickson, President and Executive Creative Director at HRB, with Bryan Earnest, ME&V Partner and President, Jim Infelt, ME&V Partner and Creative Director, and Mark Mathis III, ME&V Partner and Director of Cool.  Dee Vandeventer, ME&V Partner and Director of Operations and Fundraising, will retire as a partner and continue working as a fundraising advisor for the new organization.

“Business is moving toward more integrated marketing and communications,” said Earnest, who will serve as president of the new company. “This merger empowers us to better execute traditional and digital communications with clients who need deep expertise and expanded bandwidth to stay competitive in this cluttered marketplace. It also allows us to target prospects outside our current markets.”

The alliance will create one of the largest advertising agencies in Eastern Iowa and the largest fundraising-consulting firms in the state with more than $100 million raised for nonprofits (including the recent Cedar Rapids Library 3.0 campaign) over the last 15 years.

“This alliance allows us to leverage skills and talent in ways that will greatly benefit our clients,” said Thebeau, who will serve as chairman of the board for the new company. “Key strategic benefits of the merger include accelerated technology and new media integration, increased content development and deployment, and video in cross-platform applications.”

On April 1, 2014, the merger will take place. The new company will not retain either of the existing names.  The new organization’s name is “AMPERAGE.” The branding line for the new entity is “Move the Needle.”

“Our new name represents the cross-platform strength of signal or message for any business or organization.  We want to forge a powerful connection for clients to energize business growth,” said Mathis. “Today there is no middle ground—you’re either moving the needle or you’re not.”

This alliance of the two well-known agencies brings together high-end strategic marketing, design, video production, crisis communications, research, brand development, public relations, social media, APP development, website building and consulting, search engine optimization, and capital campaign fundraising consulting all under one company banner.

“Our shared vision for AMPERAGE is the need to discover the connection between our clients and their audiences, then, what motivates them in ways that can be measured,” said Erickson.

Even though a major benefit of merging is economies of scale, the new company is positioning for growth and future expansion.

“We are not planning any down-sizing due to the merger. In fact, if anything, we’ll be hiring,” said Earnest. “We are positioned for growth and we plan to merge with two more agencies in order to accelerate growth and enhance our capabilities.”

According to Infelt, “Marketing is changing so much that new-age agencies need to be able to integrate messaging on all platforms from television to smartphones.  If you want to see results, you need to embrace all media and consider your brand and content across all platforms.”

For more details about the new company formed by the merger, or to hire us, visit www.AmperageMarketing.com or call 800-728-2656.

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Be part of something greater - The Cedar Valley of Iowa

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber has approximately 800 members that represents over 40,000 employees