Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce and The 712 Initiative Welcome New CEO, Chris LaFerla.

Chris LaFerla

CEO of The 712 Initiative

[Council Bluffs, Iowa] — In October, the Chamber of Commerce and The 712 Initiative announced the merger of the two great organizations – a big step in enhancing our footprint and impact in Council Bluffs and Southwest Iowa. This alliance will allow for collaborative efforts between the staff members to offer additional resources and opportunities for businesses and families in our region. We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Chris LaFerla as Chief Executive Officer and President for both organizations. This strategic leadership move marks a significant milestone in the community as we unite forces to enhance economic development, community engagement, and overall prosperity in the Council Bluffs area.

Chris brings a wealth of experience thanks to his career as the Dean of Administration at Iowa Western Community College and most recently the CEO of the Council Bluffs Schools Foundation. With a background in education, experience leading teams to new heights, and a passion for eradicating poverty in our community, Chris is well-equipped to lead the merger of the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce and The 712 Initiative, fostering collaboration and innovation for the benefit of local businesses and the community.

As an accomplished leader, Chris has a strong history of driving organizational growth, developing impactful community initiatives, and building strategic partnerships. His vision for the future aligns seamlessly with the mission of both the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce and The 712 Initiative, emphasizing a commitment to economic development, entrepreneurship, and community empowerment.

“I am excited to have Chris in this leadership position.” Dave, Zimmerman, President of the Board of Directors of the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce. “Our goal is to make Council Bluffs a better place to live, work, play, and retire.  Chris, as CEO of the newly merged Chamber of Commerce, will bring organizational leadership and will be an integral part of driving the change necessary to accomplish these goals.”

“Chris LaFerla’s proven leadership and dedication to community betterment make him an ideal choice for this role,” adds Amy Carolus, President of the Board of Directors of The 712 Initiative. “We believe that his expertise will drive positive change and elevate the impact of both organizations in the Council Bluffs community.”

In his new role, Chris will work closely with the boards of both organizations to streamline operations, leverage resources, and enhance the overall impact on the Council Bluffs area. His strategic vision and passion for community development will be pivotal in driving innovation, supporting local businesses, and creating opportunities for residents.

“I am honored and excited to join the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce and the 712 Initiative,” said Chris LaFerla. “Supporting a strong business community is pivotal to fostering economic growth and improving the lives of our neighbors in the Council Bluffs area. Council Bluffs is an incredible place that has given so much to me, and I look forward to collaborating with members and partners to enhance this community that I care so deeply about.”

The Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce and The 712 Initiative are confident that under Chris’ leadership, the merged organizations will play a key role in shaping the future of Council Bluffs and furthering the region’s economic and community development.

For media inquiries or more information, please contact:

Dave Zimmerman,

Amy Carolus,