Where Are They Now? Aimee Thurner, Class of 2005

This post is part of an occasional series focusing on Leadership Development Academy graduates and what they have done, personally and professionally, in the years following their LDA experience. Please contact us if you would like to be profiled here, or would like to recommend a graduate for us to feature.

Aimee Thurner, Class of 2005


Aimee Thurner

Year Graduated

2005 (Stateline Leadership Academy)

What are you doing now?

Executive Director, Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce

What did you want to be when you grew up?

“Business Woman”

How did LDA help you on your journey?

LDA has made such a difference in my journey through connections, experiences, and lifelong friendships!

Favorite song/band

Any Country but I love Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, and Eric Church

What piece of advice would you give a new LDA participant?

Put everything you have into the experience. You will get out what you put in. Do the work on the projects, learn how the colors training affects your relationships with people throughout your life, and stay engaged after graduation to continue to build your network.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to spend time with my husband Nate and three kids, going for walks with my best friend, and grabbing a coffee any chance I can get! We are currently building our forever home so that’s exciting!

Favorite Rock County event

Taste of the Chamber 😊 Non chamber event – Friday’s in the Park pre-Covid!

Where do you volunteer?

Leadership Development Academy, Beloit Meals on Wheels and my church Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in Janesville.

If you could trade careers with any local person, who would you trade with and why?

It really isn’t a specific person but I would trade with a small business owner and run my own bakery!

When you reflect on your LDA experience, what is your fondest memory? Scariest memory?

My fondest memories are the friendships and the scariest memory is still that dang ropes course!

Future goal or dream

To be happy and healthy and achieve professional growth

Any regrets?

I sometimes regret not taking more risks.

Why have you stayed involved with LDA?

Because I can’t say no to Linda! Ha ha! No, it is because no matter how many years past, I continue to benefit from this program both professionally and personally.

Favorite quote:

OK, it is a song lyric but same difference, right?

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’
Don’t let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance – I hope you dance

What was your LDA project? How did it impact your experience with LDA or in life?

Our group through the Stateline Leadership Academy hosted an event with the School District of Beloit – it was an indoor carnival with information on nonprofits in our area available. That experience definitely showed me what it was like to work with others who had very different personalities than me. Looking back, I wished we would have done something with a larger scope for our project.

If you could choose a community project or need to help out with today, what would it be and why?

Equal Rights

Who do you look up to as a community leader/mentor?

Oh boy so many! I really believe in having mentors that you can lean on for guidance. My current mentors are Mary Fanning-Penny and Ann Sitrick – two AMAZING women! I really look up to so many of our community leaders though. The list is long!

How has LDA prepared you or your business for COVID? Any stories you would like to share with us?

I don’t think anything could have prepared me for COVID!

Do you know of any new nonprofits that might need community support now?

SO MANY with the affects of COVID. I really recommend supporting whichever you have a passion for. If you don’t know, the United Way Blackhawk Region is always a good option because they can then give money to so many of our local nonprofits!