Western Illinois University Alum Leading Quad-Cities Chamber
MACOMB/Moline, IL – Western Illinois University alumna and CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber LaDrina Wilson, Ph.D. recalls the people of WIU-QC being the challenging force that pushed her to pursue specific professional aspirations.
“From the amazing personal and professional relationships I established, to the amazing faculty who constantly pushed me to think differently, I reflect a lot on WIU,” said Wilson.
Wilson jokes that she is one of the few people to ever change their major in graduate school, but that’s exactly what she did.
“My career in higher education continued to provide me opportunities for promotion, while I was pursuing my master’s in school counseling,” Wilson said. “Eventually, I switched to WIU-QC, where I enrolled in the Education program that supported adult learners as it mirrored the path I was traversing in my career.”
Wilson graduated from WIU with a Master of Science in Education and Interdisciplinary Studies in 2012, after completing her undergraduate degree in Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communication from Northern Arizona University. Most recently, Wilson attended Iowa State University, earning her doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2018.
“My career began to excel after continuing my path in higher education,” said Wilson.
After many years of completing her education, Wilson started her own business to provide education, training and consultation to individuals and organizations who sought to advance and grow through leadership and sound DEI practices. That work, coupled with community involvement, led Wilson to take on her current role as CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber.
Wilson is proud of her accomplishments, but often remembers the people on campus who impacted her life significantly.
“I had experiences from both WIU-QC and Macomb through professional development opportunities and credit courses. Professors Andrea Hyde, Holly Nichols, George Gunzenhausser, Jim LaPrad and JQ Adams were among some of my favorites who made a greater impact on me,” said Wilson.
Some of her fondest memories stemmed from the Quad Cities community being a pillar of excellence.
“I hope to continue to partner with WIU-QC through community initiatives that they spearhead to support enhancing the skills of our future workforce, and through spreading the word of their excellent programs and outstanding faculty,” said Wilson. “One piece of advice I have for any WIU student is to take advantage of getting involved in the WIU-QC community, and the greater QC community. Some of my most rewarding experiences have come from connecting with the people around me, as well as through community service. Treat every opportunity (good or bad) as a growth opportunity.”
For more information on the WIU Education program, visit wiu.edu/coehs/education/.