Janet Raymond '18

Senior Vice President
Greater Providence chamber of Commerce

Award Profile

Courageous Thinking and Action
As Senior Vice President of Operations and Economic Development for the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, Janet Raymond - the first person to hold this position in the Chamber’s 150 years - has worked passionately to advocate on behalf of Rhode Island businesses and to grow the state’s economy. In her 25 years with the Chamber, Janet has been at the forefront of many of the critical issues which have shaped Rhode Island’s business and economic landscape.

Prior to joining the Chamber, Janet served in several positions at both the local and state government level.  From serving as the Economic Development Director for the City of Warwick at a time which witnessed the growth of the Route 2 retail corridor to senior policy advisor to Governor Bruce Sundlun where she focused on the development, coordination and implementation of a policy agenda for transportation and environmental issues, Janet learned the importance of being responsive to constituents needs.

Vision & Innovation
In her role with the Chamber, Janet was instrumental in initiating the broader discussion in Rhode Island about the state’s Knowledge Economy. In 2008, the Chamber in partnership with Commerce RI was responsible for conducting the first-ever benchmarking study on Rhode Island’s Knowledge Economy which examined 22 economic indicators and compared them to regional and national trends.

To advance innovation in the state, Janet led the Chamber’s efforts to seed and support organizations and initiatives whose purpose is to harness local economic assets and human capital to grow Rhode Island’s innovation economy. The Chamber was an early supporter of organizations focused on growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state including: the RI Business Plan Competition, Social Enterprise Greenhouse accelerator program and “Best4RI”
initiative, Betaspring (now RevUp) and the Founders League. These organizations helped to launch with the support of the Chamber and Janet’s leadership start-up companies such as Maternova, Sproutel, Health ID and NuLabel Technologies, to name just a few.

Inspiring Leadership
Over her distinguished career, Janet has brought passion and leadership to efforts to make Rhode Island a better place to live and do business. She is committed to helping the state and its residents reach their potential and thrive. Answering a top need for businesses of all sizes, Janet works extensively to strengthen Rhode Island’s workforce development capacities. She is Chair of the Providence/Cranston Workforce Investment Board, a board who provides oversight of a workforce development system that serves adults, dislocated workers and youth throughout the Providence/Cranston area. She is also a member of the Governor’s Workforce Board.

Janet also serves on the Rhode Island Wavemaker Fellowship Committee. The program provides a financial incentive for Rhode Island college graduates to stay in the state by defraying student loan payments for up to four years for graduates pursuing careers or starting businesses in science, technology, engineering, arts, math and other key sectors.

Community Mindedness
In addition to her exemplary work on infrastructure, innovation and workforce development, Janet has applied her skills, knowledge and time to supporting the Rhode Island community in other areas. She serves on the boards of Goodwill Industries, Junior Achievement of Rhode Island, The Business Development Company of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Hospitality Education Foundation, and the Providence Foundation. She serves as an advisory member for the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center, the Lieutenant Governor’s Small Business
Advocacy Council, and Polaris MEP - a statewide non-profit organization that provides competitive manufacturing business improvement programs to grow the manufacturing industry. 

JA Mission Moment
Since teaching first grade for JA in Providence elementary schools for several years, there have been many JA mission moments. From the moment of walking into the classroom for the first time and being petrified of first graders, to being asked how old I am or how much money I make, I am amazed at the students desire and eagerness to learn. Teaching JA has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, knowing that in some small way I could have an impact on a student’s future. The children are excited to have visitors in their classroom and want to learn about careers and businesses. One of my most lasting memories was teaching the difference between needs and wants and when I asked a little girl about something she needed or wanted, she said to me she wanted her mommy back. Her mom had passed away. Sometimes, all the children need is someone to give them a hug or listen to their story and to tell them everything will be okay.