Columbus Chamber’s Leadership for Small Business Series: Hidden Gems in the Columbus Workforce

Launched in 2016, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership for Small Business Series highlights relevant, actionable information and networking for startups, small business owners and entrepreneurs. The series features insights, trends and best practices custom tailored to small and midsize firms, covering topics like mentoring, business development, recruiting, retention, marketing and more. As a unified voice for Central Ohio companies and the region’s premier advocate for a thriving small business community, the Columbus Chamber leverages and delivers content from its growing membership of nearly 1,400 businesses.

With the lowest level of unemployment in close to 20 years, how can Columbus’ businesses fill critical roles within their organizations? On Tuesday, July 17, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce will explore that question at its latest Leadership for Small Business event, Hidden Gems in the Columbus Workforce.

“When an economy is at full or near full employment, businesses run the risk of turning down new customers for their products or services if they cannot hire staff,” says Columbus Chamber Workforce Director Kelly Fuller. “It is critical for organizations to broaden their talent search.”

A panel of employers and experts will lead the discussion around finding alternative pools of talent including:

  • Linda Coleman – HR Manager, Hot Chicken Takeover
  • Tearicka Cradle – Restoration Academy Coordinator, City of Columbus
  • John Rush – CEO & Founder, Clean Turn Enterprises

Fuller explains that both real and perceived barriers keep certain groups of candidates underrepresented in the workforce and that “alternative” is often a misnomer.

“These individuals can often be Plan A for a company,” she says.

Attendees will hear personal and professional stories from both program and employer participants in the City’s Restoration Academy, which works with formerly incarcerated individuals.

Hidden Gems in the Columbus Workforce will be held at Red Brick Occasions, 118 E. Main St., on Tuesday, July 17. Networking and registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with programming from 8 – 9:15 a.m. Coffee and light breakfast will be provided.

Tickets are $25 for Chamber members and $40 for non-Chamber members. Additional information and registration can be found here.

Learn more about the Columbus Chamber of Commerce at