Shelley Oltmans

What do you do for Extension and Outreach CED?

I specialize in organizing sustainable community leadership programs in partnership with local organizations. I also teach local government programming including Planning and Zoning Workshops and Township Trustees Training. I am a skilled facilitator available to lead community input sessions and complete strategic planning for communities and organizations.

As a chamber executive, I pride myself on building partnerships and regional collaborations in order to better serve southeast Iowa and the Tri-State Area of Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. The knowledge I gain as a chamber executive is used to improve CED’s programming and marketing and outreach.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is creating and leading functional partnerships and collaborations. Many rural communities are low resource and in order for organizations and leaders to make an impact and produce real outcomes we must work together. A rising tide raises all boats.

Name one fun thing about yourself that not many people know.

In the summer you can find me with friends and family boating on the grand ol’ Mississippi River.

What do you do in your spare time?

As a Chamber of Commerce executive, my spare time is often monopolized by work, but the fun kind of work such as networking, organizing community projects, and volunteering for organizations that align with my passions. I also enjoy dinner parties with friends and family, great food, and fun games.

What is one thing you would like to accomplish in this position?

My number-one goal is to build sustainable community leadership programs in rural communities, creating a vibrant and innovative network of diverse community leaders who are empowered to take action and make positive change.

How do you create a #StrongIowa?

I believe you create a StrongIowa through the development of leaders who understand how to work together to accomplish community goals.

What you have been up to lately?

I am delivering the Leading Communities leadership curriculum in Henry County. I am also developing relationships with organizations interested in creating a sustainable community leadership program in their community, with the goal to launch three new leadership programs this fall. I am also leading a research study analyzing the effectiveness of workforce development initiatives in the SET Confluence Region that will hopefully result in an evaluation tool that can be used to evaluate and improve regional efforts related to workforce development.

Wearing my chamber executive hat, I am focused on laying the groundwork for the implementation of the Mississippi and Des Moines Rivers Confluence SET region encompassing Lee County, Iowa; Clark County, Missouri; and Hancock County, Illinois. This requires fostering strong collaborations and partnerships to support an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer working to improve regional efforts related to workforce development, creating a tri-county routes and trails plan, and applying for a Rural Business Development Grant through USDA Rural Development to complete business development programming and gauge the feasibility of a business incubator/co-working space in the SET Confluence region.