Mid-Year Update

Welcome and happy June! There are several new and exciting happenings I wanted to share with you. The one thing that is certain is change, and how we navigate that change – as individuals and as businesses – has a big influence in how we collectively recover and invest in the next normal for our region.

Hellos and Goodbyes

Hello to Lisa Poplowski Lewis! GSI is excited and announce the hiring of Lisa Poplowski Lewis as its Vice President of Resource Development. In her role, Lisa will oversee and lead the strategic work of building and growing investment in our resource development portfolio including our membership and engagement initiatives.  Lisa’s first day is Monday, June 14.See the press release issued earlier today.

And on Friday we say goodbye to Cara Coon, GSI’s VP of Communications and Public Affairs who tackling a new adventure with our friends at Corner Booth Media. Join me in thanking Cara for her leadership these past few years across our marketing, communications, and public policy work.

Community Visioning Kick-off Event

GSI and our many partners will kick-off the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) process, starting with an informational Good Morning Greater Spokane (GMGS): Mapping Out Our Economic Future event this Friday, June 11 at 8 am PT.

The CEDS is developed in three phases, beginning with the data-gathering stage, where the focus is on hard data from a variety of resources. Mid-summer into fall, the process moves into individual and group conversations, surveys, and focus groups, all discussing our region’s opportunities. The goal of these conversations is to include as many voices, partners, and organizations, as possible including those not traditionally engaged in this type of work. The remainder of 2021 will be spent designing the strategy. This will be an iterative process as we share out thoughts and ideas and get feedback. In early 2022, the CEDS is finalized, and our community moves from thinking about solutions to making them happen!

Learn more and register for this kick-off event! GSI’s Gary Ballew is the point of contact for this work and would love to connect with you.


GSI is grateful for its partnership with the Washington Economic Development Authority (WEDA), whose mission it is to “support communities to achieve positive growth.” As Washington State’s only trade association laser-focused on economic development, WEDA is committed to recovering, retaining, recruiting and expanding jobs and re-investment in Washington State. WEDA members include economic development organizations, cities, counties, ports, tribes, businesses, education, and community-based organizations that prioritize economic development.

WEDA’s Summer Conference (in person!), Reconnecting on the Road to Recovery is being held at Spokane’s Davenport Hotel on August 3-5, 2021, and you are invited to attend to hear from fellow economic development, local government, port, business, tribal, education and community leaders from throughout Washington. Learn and engage with expert speakers and professionals on the current state of Washington’s economic recovery and gain new tools and insights for economic development in your community. 

The conference will also feature limited virtual programming for those who can’t attend in person. We encourage you to get your COVID-19 vaccine, if you haven’t already. 


GSI’s third of three meetings with our members of Congress concludes with a series centered on Senator Maria Cantwell and her purview as Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. While we anticipate being on-the-ground and in-person in 2022, this is the next best way to engage with our Congressional members. Register here and join us to hear about committee and agency experts on trade, transportation, technology, and Commerce. This is an important part in keeping our region on the minds of our members of Congress! Hope to “see” you there!

On the state front advocacy front, we missed in-person advocacy this year, however, appreciated the quick shift of our legislature to allow Zoom testimony! Jim Hedrick, GSI’s longtime state lobbyist, said he has never witnessed more testimony submitted by our business from Eastern Washington!

Additionally, we announced last week Association of Washington Business (AWB) is partnering with GSI (and nine other chambers across the state) to host regional meetings to gather input from the business community on the possibility of a transportation package. GSI often works with AWB on these issues to gain the business perspective on a statewide transportation package, especially given the recent passage of the cap & trade program and the low carbon fuel standard, a potential federal infrastructure package, and the Governor’s vetoes.

These meetings will be in-person. AWB is inviting the House and Senate transportation chairs to participate, and each meeting will last about an hour.

What: Statewide transportation discussion with AWB
Where: Greater Spokane Inc.

801 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201

Use Post Street entrance

When: Wednesday, July 7

Time: 8 am

Please RSVP to Liv Johnson by email at: We must track attendance for capacity restrictions that may still be in place.

GSI is planning an in-person 2022 Olympia Fly-In and will have more details this summer. Be on the lookout in GSI’s Connect newsletter to register.

Reaching Customers

Every year GSI partners with the Journal of Business to bring you the annual Connect magazine, which is designed and built by GSI and published by the Journal of Business as a supplement in the late September issue. If you are interested in advertising in this annual magazine, click on the media kit to view opportunities. It provides answers to your questions, pricing and everything else to make your advertising decision!

In closing, thank you for engaging in the work with us to make our community all it can be! We do not do this work alone and appreciate the partnership in making big things happen for our region. We are looking forward to seeing more of you in person as we make the return to in-person gatherings including our upcoming Business After Hours at Centerplace next Thursday, June 17. Together we’re greater!


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