Meet Jason Ball, president and CEO of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development.
Tell us a little about your business. – The Lincoln Chamber (lcoc.com) is comprised of more than 1,600 members and stakeholders from the business community, and we are tasked with fostering an environment of economic growth and vitality in Lincoln. The programs of the Chamber collectively help entrepreneurs start new businesses, help grow existing businesses, recruit new business to Lincoln, market Lincoln as a destination for visitors and events, provide access to new workforce resources, and advocate for pro-business policies in government. We are a broad-based, business-centered, community growth organization, and we love the city we represent.
How did you get started in the business? – I worked for the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development between 2008 to 2012. I loved that experience so much—and I had the honor to lead three other Chambers before returning to my home city.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – The biggest challenge for Chambers is balancing the diverse needs of stakeholders. We drive progress, and we embrace that mission. However, change can be difficult and different people, organizations, and businesses disagree about priorities. “We win together” is the theme we’ve embraced at the Chamber. Maintaining progress while balancing stakeholder needs is always the priority to be successful in our work.
What has been your most important achievement professionally? – During the COVID-19 shutdown in Texas, we provided rapid economic assistance to local small businesses. Within a week after the shutdown started, we committed funds that formed Round Rock Cares. The first assistance checks were sent before the PPP Loan application was even completed. The fund provided over $420,000 to more than 240 small businesses. Many credit that program for their survival.
Tell us a little about your family. – My wife Sandy and I have two children, Bennett (9) and Sadie (6). We love to go camping whenever we can.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – I love to run, but I do that on workdays too. I’m slow, but I’m dedicated.
Who inspires you? – Small business owners. Whether they are trying to grow to hundreds of employees or make a living for themselves as a sole proprietor, they are extraordinary people. They take on so much risk to build a business and make our community unique and special.
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Make a difference.” The privilege we have every day at the Chamber is that we are tasked with serving someone who is trying to build their business and ultimately, build their dream. That may be a dream for business and financial success. It could be building an organization that changes an industry or provides jobs and financial security to others. We may be working with education partners to build pathways for students to find a rewarding career, or a non-traditional student to develop new skills. These people are trying to build a better life for themselves or their families. Ultimately, we are helping people better their own circumstances and fulfill their potential.
If you could have a super power, what would it be? – To predict the future. Just think of the advice we could provide to our companies!
What is your favorite local restaurant? – I wear everyone’s hat. Lincoln has an amazing food scene.