A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty

As president and CEO, Joshua Gunn leads the Greater Peoria Business Alliance, which consists of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce and CEO Council, collectively representing over 1,000 area businesses. He is the youngest CEO in the Peoria Chamber’s 111-year history and the first African-American to hold the position. Although he has only been in Peoria for one year, he is already making a significant impact on the community, advocating for policies that help businesses grow and providing support for businesses during a global pandemic.

Under Gunn’s leadership, the Chamber has grown by launching two new membership tiers—one for entrepreneurs and startups, and the other for minority-owned businesses. During a very challenging year, the Chamber hosted 30 successful virtual events, including the largest Big Table: Greater Peoria event thus far. As co-chair of the Regional Workforce Alliance, he is leading the charge to connect employers, educators and community-based organizations with high school graduates and under-credentialed, multi-barriered adults to ensure they have the skills and credentials needed to earn a family-sustaining wage.

Gunn sits on the LISC Central Illinois Board of Directors and the United Way Fundraising Campaign Cabinet and was recently appointed to the national board of directors for the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE). He is a member of the Kiwanis Club and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and sits on the fundraising committee for Art Inc. 

In his previous role as vice president at the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, Gunn led efforts to recruit thousands of jobs to the North Carolina city, attracting both Google and Apple to open regional headquarters there. He was active in the community on numerous boards and was named among the 40 Alumni Under 40 by North Carolina A&T State University as well as ACCE’s 40 Under 40 program. Prior to entering the world of economic development, he was a successful hip-hop artist and appeared in multiple commercials as well as the BET series Music Moguls. PM