Jackie Steele joined the GO Topeka team in August 2016 as the director of business retention and expansion. She brings a love of historic buildings, a faint northern Iowa accent and more than 10 years of experience in community and economic development. Jackie has worked in both the public and private sectors, including several years at a civil engineering firm where she learned more about infrastructure than she ever wanted to know. Before she joined the GO Topeka team, Jackie held business retention positions at the Wyandotte Economic Development Council and the City of Riverside, Missouri. She is excited to learn more about Topeka-Shawnee County’s business citizens and work to make the area’s business climate even better.
What “lesson from mom” do you still live by today?
I still strive to live by “It is the smart kids who ask questions.” Nothing clarifies like clarity. It’s been my experience that it’s better to ask the question and gain knowledge than to try and move forward while things are unclear.
If money was no object, what would you do all day?
If I won the lottery, I’d spend my time rehabbing historic structures. I’m enthralled by the character, craftsmanship and love that went into building older structures. My childhood home was a catalog house that was brought in on the train in the early 1900s. I loved the front porch, big windows and pocket doors.
What’s the most unusual place you have visited?
I did a whirlwind eight-day trip to China. The group visited four different cities and saw so many amazing sites. One of the most memorable moments was having my photo taken nearly 30 times with different groups of Chinese tourists at the Great Wall because apparently they thought I was an American movie star.
If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would it be?
If I could spend a week anywhere in the world, it would be Bora Bora. I love warm weather and the ocean and I have no problem just lounging on the beach and swimming in the ocean for the entire day. Unfortunately, my fiancé doesn’t go in the ocean past his ankles so I’ll be swimming by myself.
Vice President of Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development
Entrepreneurial & Minority Business Development