CEO Of Brand-New Greater St. Louis Inc. Has Big Plans For The Region
This fall, five civic groups in St. Louis announced an unusual move within this fractured region: Rather than guarding their separate fiefdoms, they were merging. What Better Together failed to do for local governments, civic organizations (and the corporate leaders who fund them) had themselves achieved.
And so this January, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, AllianceSTL, Civic Progress, Downtown STL Inc. and Arch to Park will officially become Greater St. Louis Inc. The new entity will focus on “creating jobs, expanding equity and improving St. Louis’ global competitiveness.”
Its new CEO, Jason Hall, said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air that Greater St. Louis Inc. aims to answer key questions for St. Louis, namely:
“What is the vision of where we’re going economically? What is that shared vision of how we get there so we can create more and higher-quality jobs and reduce barriers so more St. Louisans have access to them?”
He added, “Greater St. Louis Inc. represents the first step in a longer journey to bring that together modeled off best in class, what high-growth regions around the country are doing. And having that unified voice, a shared agenda, and acting as one metropolitan region, anchored by its urban core, is the starting point for that. And this gets us back on that track.”
Hall is an attorney who previously worked in economic development for Gov. Jay Nixon and spent the last two years running Arch to Park. Hall co-founded the upstart company after leaving the St. Louis Regional Chamber, where he’d been a vice president. He later told St. Louis Magazine he’d become convinced the chamber needed “a higher level of intensity.”
Hall acknowledged that his leadership may represent a shock to staffers who haven’t been quite so driven. “I am an intense individual,” he admitted. “But at the end of the day, this is not driven by a personal agenda. I love this community. It frustrates me, as it does a lot of other people, that we’re not reaching our potential. I always said if I had the chance, I’d lead by example … and I am all in.”
Hall noted that pulling off the merger relied on a lot of earnest conversations behind the scenes, not a top-down plan. Organizers had to be “humble enough to listen.”
“I think it’s the healthy way we need to do things in St. Louis,” he added. “I’m tired of a decade where there’s sort of hatched plans and you’re not sure where they came from and where is the conversation occurring. You have to do these things in a much more open way like that, and really listen to people.”
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.