By Nancy Price
As a young man working his first job, Christian Maslowski received advice from his supervisor, which has helped to guide him toward success as current CEO and president of the Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce.
“My first boss explained to me that organizations are like living, breathing organisms. They are either evolving and growing or remaining stagnant and dying,” Maslowski said. “Business counts on our work at the chamber to help them grow and operate. It’s not about us. Running a business entails many challenges. The chamber stays relevant – and this grows and evolves – when we remain a valued resource to easing their challenges and connecting them to solutions.
“The same notion goes for the community – we must evolve and improve it to support residential vitality and growth and business growth. In addition to this philosophy, I’m just wired to succeed. Good enough is not good enough.”
Due to Maslowski’s exceptional vision for business growth and drive to serve the needs of the Southside community, he has been named the 2019 Southside Times’ person of the year.
A CHAMPION OF BUSINESSES
“Christian always was a champion of businesses in Greenwood,” said Kent DeKoninck, Ph.D., superintendent of Greenwood Community Schools and past chair of the Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce. “It was fun for me to see his leadership grow and his level of commitment to his community. He’s certainly unflappable, he’s extremely positive, he cares deeply about people, he’s got a passion for what he’s doing. He is a collaborator and builder of collaboration with others. He is intent on serving all business, small, medium or large.”
A native of South Bend, IN, Maslowski attended Washington High School, where he was involved with student government, theatre and music. After graduating, he attended Manchester University. Maslowski originally studied elementary education but switched to communications studies, eventually completing his master’s degree. He met his future wife, Michelle, after graduation from college, and the two moved to the Southside in 2005. They have two children, Gabriella, 7, and Ainsley, 2.
Maslowski is a past president and current member of the Sertoma Club of Greenwood, served as marketing chair for six years with the club’s annual summer festival, WAMMfest and recently completed his second two-year term on the Johnson County Tourism Commission, where he was a founding member. He is also a graduate of Leadership Johnson County, class of 2014, and attends St. Mark’s Catholic Church.
Maslowski began working with the Greenwood Chamber in 2007.
“I love learning about so many different business types and industries,” Maslowski said. “It’s helpful to understand how they all fit together to make the economy work. I also enjoy working on public policy initiatives to improve the business climate and support strong community development and growth.”
A MERGER AND NEW NAME
In August, members of the Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce and Johnson County Development Corporation (JCDC) approved a merger of the two organizations. The new organization, called Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance, will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.
“Each of our two organizations had enjoyed a history of success. But we were looking for the future to discover how we could be stronger and best serve the community,” Maslowski explained. “We came to firmly understand businesses are looking at larger markets and care less about political boundaries than ever before. We also understood that our two organizations both existed for the same basic reasons: to launch, grow, retain and recruit businesses and work to improve the business and labor environment. To these ends, the work each organization undertook was complimentary and even overlapped in a few small ways. So, we set out to answer the question: “Can we be stronger and more successful together, rather than working independently alongside one another within the same geography? Our board of directors, and ultimately our members, said, ‘yes, we believe we can.’
“The merger itself is not end goal, the win, or how we move the community forward. The real benefit to the community will be what we do with this realigned, powerful resource; what big issues we tackle, what dials we really move the needle forward toward success. Our strategic economic plan will help us identify these new
‘north stars’ and Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance will be positioned to advance the community.”