5 Under 40:
Jennifer Bronner, IOM, 39
Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Finance; business and finance resource advocate
Tell us about your job and why you chose your career field.
At the Chamber of Commerce, we spend our time offering visibility, support, credibility, and more for new and growing businesses. Joining the chamber gives businesses a leg up, allowing them to expand their network through access to community members, fellow business owners, and other professionals in their industries. As Vice President of Finance, I primarily operate behind the scenes, ensuring the financial resources are in place to support these connections. And I enjoy it! It’s rewarding to see budgets and forecasts translate into programming that provides the platform and resources needed to make our business community stronger.
Tell us about your activities in the community, especially what you’re most excited about.
I currently serve on Atrium Health Navicent’s NextGen Advisory Council. I actively participate in my local church’s music ministry on our worship team and in our choir. I’ve volunteered with United Way of Central Georgia as a tutor for United Way’s Read United Read2Succeed program at Burdell-Hunt Elementary School, assisting kids with spelling and sight word recognition. I’ve also developed a love for photography. This passion has opened doors for me to share my gift with a few organizations in Macon, two personal favorites being Prevailing Woman Ministries, Inc., and Next Level Community Development Center.
What are you personally committed to accomplishing in Macon and why?
I’m personally committed to cultivating and being a part of environments that foster open, constructive dialogue about Macon whenever I can. Whether in day-to-day meetings, on social media platforms, or in public settings, it’s imperative to spur productive conversations about our city’s successes and challenges that lead to viable solutions. These kinds of conversations produce ideas that develop into long-lasting and impactful gains for the community.
How do you think Macon is aligning to become a more inclusive place in the post-COVID era? How has that shaped your values and actions?
As a Macon native, I’ve observed the change in our city’s demographics, and I believe most community members have as well. I’ve noticed leaders being intentional about creating events that showcase different cultures represented in our city, business owners championing minority representation on their boards, and companies rallying together to ensure that minority-owned businesses are equipped to conduct business with more established organizations. I was proud to attend Macon’s first Hispanic Heritage Fest in Rosa Parks Square last year and was excited that Macon could hold its first annual Juneteenth parade this year. Macon’s acknowledgment of its multi-ethnic demographic is certainly refreshing. It is my plan to actively participate, support, and champion these efforts.
What is your vision for our community?
My vision for Macon is continued growth, development, and recognition as the hub of Central Georgia, and the entire state, not only because of its location, but for its ability to attract and retain a top-tier workforce, its vibrant downtown, its equitable cost of living, and its prioritization of premier healthcare and education.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
A significant professional achievement that I’m proud of is spearheading the development and implementation of a plan that earned the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce its statewide industry certification. Personally, I’m proud to be married to my wonderful husband and local musician, Joey Bronner. We’ll be celebrating our 10-year anniversary next year!
What needs to change to encourage continued progress in our city?
For continued progress, I would like to see community leaders intentionally adopt a more regional mindset. In a world where everything, and everyone, is instantly connected, cities should no longer consider themselves stand-alone domains and act autonomously. It would be a step in the right direction to strategically look beyond our own jurisdictional boundaries to identify common issues with neighboring cities and coalesce around shared strengths and challenges. A win for our region is a win for Macon!
What would be a missed opportunity in Macon?
I consistently think about beautification, and ask: Does our city visually meet the expectations of our visitors? Are residents proud of the way their city looks?
I celebrate what is being done by our local government to combat blight and the creation of a new amphitheater. This could have a huge impact in our city’s economic development, as well as enhance the look of the Eisenhower Corridor. Our gateways are becoming more welcoming. Our downtown is vibrant and alive with development and activity. So much is being done to improve our community; however, it will be a missed opportunity if we lose momentum before we reach all areas of our community with beautification and economic prosperity. I believe we must continue until all of Macon is changed in a positive way. We can do this!