In This Episode:
Choose Greater Peoria – More Than a Marketing Campaign 

When Laura Cullinan stepped into the role of President at the Gilmore Foundation, she knew she had big shoes to fill. Bob Gilmore, former Caterpillar president and storied Peorian established the foundation in 2009 to benefit the community he loved so dearly. One of Bob’s greatest desires was to engage local businesses to help solve the biggest community needs. That served as the impetus for Choose Greater Peoria.

More than a marketing campaign, Choose Greater Peoria is a long-term effort to build an economic and talent engine that will survive into the future. The Gilmore Foundation is fueling the effort, not only with funding, but making connections to facilitate intentional conversations among the leaders of local businesses and civic organizations as well as government officials. Everyone is coming together, despite business competition and political lines, to identify needs and find a path forward. The end result—improving the livability of the region.

But it’s about more than just leaders collaborating to help our community thrive. We can all be a part of the movement. Greater Peoria boasts big city amenities like arts, entertainment, access to healthcare and education in a smaller environment that makes life easier. Quality of life here is high. But we need to get better about telling our story. We need to be ambassadors of the region and build up the positive Peoria vibe. In short, we all need to be a “Bob.”

Simantel is committed to investing in our community and we’re excited to share this episode shining the spotlight on Choose Greater Peoria. Listen and enjoy.

“I love connecting people. I love connecting with people and then helping them in a small way. It’s not a big deal, but I think if you do that a million times, it can make a difference in the community.”


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About Laura Cullinan

Laura Cullinan is President of the Gilmore Foundation, an organization focused on improving the livability of the Greater Peoria region. Established in 2009 by the late Bob Gilmore, a steadfast supporter of the Peoria area, the Gilmore Foundation is focused on enhancing culture and the arts, improving society through youth development and human services, and job creation through capital improvement projects and infrastructure development. Since its inception, the foundation has given over $15 million to support the development and improvement of Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties. In 2023, Laura was personally honored by the Junior League of Peoria as a woman who has made a lasting mark on the community in their Empowering Women, Leaving a Legacy event.

Before joining the Gilmore Foundation, Laura was a practicing attorney and served as corporate counsel at RLI Corp., where she specialized in corporate governance, public company compliance and regulatory compliance. Prior to that, she served as an attorney in the Office of General Counsel at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago, Illinois. 

Laura earned her Juris Doctor at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Laura and her husband are thrilled to be back in Peoria raising their three children in the same community where they grew up. To learn more about what makes Greater Peoria “greater,” connect with Laura on LinkedIn.


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