The western suburbs of Chicago have been growing by leaps and bounds over the years, but a new award stakes the Quad Cities’ claim as the westernmost suburb.

Janessa Calderon, the 27-year-old executive director of the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, has been named to the Chicago “40 Under 40” leadership list by NegociosNow. It’s a bilingual and national award-winning publication that hosts 40 under 40 award ceremonies in Chicago, New York, Houston and Los Angeles.

Calderon is the youngest Latina to lead the QC nonprofit organization. The Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber is a membership-driven group comprised of businesses, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and individuals of any background in the greater QC region.

Calderon, a 27-year-old native of Muscatine, became executive director of the Hispanic chamber at 26, in December 2020.

Calderon is a lifelong resident of the Midwest and graduated in 2019 from the master of organizational leadership program at St. Ambrose University College of Business, according to her bio. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication from St. Ambrose.

Her passion for working with the Latino community began right out of college when she worked as a Hispanic outreach admissions counselor. She found a great community that embraced her culture and welcomed her in.

“She now strives to educate others on how beneficial a diversity of race and thought can be for our economy,” the bio says, noting Calderon served in several leadership roles for the Hispanic chamber since 2018, beginning as programs and events manager and then membership engagement coordinator.

As executive director, one of her priorities is to be the hub of resources for the chamber’s business members. Calderon strives to be the point of contact whom members can trust with their business needs.

Another of her goals is to enhance the reach of the Hispanic chamber in the community and begin different forms of partnership that will help the QC work in unison.

“Being a leader in your community comes in different forms. A leader is not a title, it is anyone who takes initiative towards change for the greater good,” Calderon said.

She volunteers throughout the community in the Lead(h)er mentorship program and other women-empowering networking groups. Under the Hispanic chamber, she sits on the CEO community diversity, equity and inclusion advisory committee for Genesis Hospital, the diversity and equity committee for UnityPoint Health-Trinity, the Quad Cities COVID-19 Coalition group, and is an active board member for Q2030.