The Unknown Hero in the Heart of Illinois

by Julie House

 In a world of evolving technology and a maddening marketplace, appears a woman whom the disputes of many are resolved and the scams that prey on Central Illinois are prevented. One who ensures that malicious companies are exposed and people that attempt to bully a company into submission are called out. Protecting business and consumers; leading the way towards truth and transparency. Her identity is about to be revealed. 

Who is this super hero I speak of? Mrs. Jessica Tharp is the Vice President of the Heart of Illinois Better Business Bureau. You might not see her actually wearing a cape, but regardless, she is proudly serving and protecting our consumers and businesses. She accomplishes her mission with the power of ethic vision, the speed of honesty, her lasso of truth and well; yeah she kind of has that superhero chick hair. Day in and day out she is working to build a better tomorrow for those of us who live in the Greater Central Illinois area. This is no small job. BBB serving Central Illinois watches over the local marketplace that encompasses 36 counties!

This local heroine hails from a not so far away galaxy.  She is from small town Delavan Illinois and credits the community for providing a foundation of ethics during her youth. She started at BBB, just days after graduating from DHS, as the part time receptionist.  And it was just days after, it was obvious BBB was in her DNA. Through extensive BBB training, the 100 year old organization bred a BBB missionary of trust for this community. 

For 10 years now, Jess has been working tirelessly to find justice for those deserving. She believes that all things should be clear, honest, and truthful. When companies fail to meet those obligations it is the job of the Better Business Bureau to step in and guide both parties in fairness and cooperation. Issues such as simple misunderstandings to blatant misrepresentation are only a few of the fifty plus complaints that reach the HOI Better Business Bureau every day. Although complaints are a large part of the work at BBB, the primary goal is resolution not retaliation.   

As the Vice President of the Better Business Bureau Jessica Tharp works alongside the President assure all aspects of BBB are delivered to our community. She goes to extraordinary lengths to guide her staff and instill determination in their hearts to deliver BBB’s mission, to promote the highest ethical relationship between business and its customers. She believes good people-driven by purpose for the mission- are the greatest asset to the organization.   With extensive knowledge gained over the years, Jessica teaches Central Illinois how to find the best in business and protects us from marketplace villains.

As if these things weren’t super all on their own, Jessica a mother of four super siblings ranging from 7 years old down to 1. She wears the ‘S’ on her chest during the kids’ piano and karate lessons, during her own drum lessons and anything else she does-always promoting the mission and values BBB offers.  She and her husband Justin are raising their family with trust and honesty and ethics loomed into life lessons everywhere they can get it. 

 Instilling fairness at home and in the work place ; defending the victims and denouncing the villain. How super is that! We wish it could always be that simple but the BBB and Jessica are there to break down what starts as the most complicated issues to what is fair and right. In turn the business regains the consumers trust resulting in stronger business relations and a powerful community. 

A better marketplace for Central Illinois? A better tomorrow for business?  You bet we’ve got a hero for that. No mask and no cape required. She is just down at the BBB whenever you need her.