Owith Jill Meyer leading the Cincinnati Regional Chamber of Commerce in the United Statescompanies have an optimistic and stubborn lawyer.
Tell us about the career path that got you to where you are today.
I started my professional life as a young litigator, practicing law at Frost & Jacobs (aka Frost Brown Todd). I loved practicing at the firm and I thought I would end my career there. I had a great practice. Colleagues and clients were like family, and I became a responsible member of the Cincinnati office. Then the opportunity to lead the House presented itself, and I realized that the only thing I was more passionate about than the First Amendment (my area of legal practice) was Cincinnati – its strength, its potential, [and its] need bold leadership. Six and a half years later, here I am.
Why do you think it is important to have women in leadership positions like yours?
Given the demographics of our country and its workforce, the answer is obvious. Despite [that], we still don’t have proportional representation at the highest levels in so many professions. Data now consistently shows that women earn more college degrees, women have increasing financial power and wealth, women make the majority of consumer buying decisions, and companies with women on their boards administration get better results. That women are increasingly ascending to the highest levels of business is overdue, but happening.
Why are you the right person to lead the Chamber?
Any opportunity should come in the right season. This came about when the business community was ready and ready for strategic, collaborative and passionate leadership and the wider community was hungry for growth. I am lucky that my skills, coupled with my experience and my passions, align perfectly. I firmly believe that the best days of this community are ahead of us and that we will get there when everyone takes ownership and learns to look at our future city a little differently. I like to think that I can help people do that. I am also resolutely optimistic and stubborn, which I fully appreciate can be a blessing and a curse.
Who have been your mentors along the way?
There is a lot of. I didn’t hesitate to lean where someone gave me a window and I’ve been blessed with the benefit of great mentors at so many different stages of my professional journey. Some of the main mentors I’ve had the good fortune to learn from are Dick Goehler, who died too soon in 2011. He taught me to practice law, keep an eye on the ball and keep people at the center of everything . what you do. Judge Beth Myers taught me to walk into the room and stand up, no matter who else was there. Delores Hargrove-Young taught me not to be afraid of the impact you can have when you stand up for something and say it out loud. John P. Williams Jr., a predecessor who created the gold standard in this role and who also died too soon in 2019, literally taught me everything I know about being the president and leader of the leadership of the Cincinnati Chamber.
What does a typical day in Jill’s life look like? Where do you find the time to breathe?
A “typical” day is a very unique day, filled with a wide variety of people, difficult challenges, strategic opportunities, laughter and, thankfully still, many meetings. I recharge myself regularly by coaching my 8-year-old son’s football team and blundering with him and learning from him; hike in our local parks or walk the steps of Cincinnati; and sidecar riding for the whims of my wine-loving, music-loving, world-traveling and always pleasant chef husband.