Change is our lifeblood. – David Ogilvy
As leaders, people often look to us to lead on initiatives that span community issues wide and far, but sometimes leadership is about empowering others to lead and succeed.
That’s why our team at Southwest Michigan First is gearing up for Populus on May 1 in Kalamazoo. Populus is a one-day event designed to bring together community leaders and change makers to solve critical issues in Southwest Michigan and brainstorm ideas of how to make our region the place to be.
As economic developers, we know we can’t do it alone – so we’re inviting fellow leaders, both emerging and existing, to join us in visioning our community’s future together.
This isn’t a “conference as usual.” In addition to hearing from great thought leaders like brand-building expert Denise Lee Yohn, who has worked on brands like Sony, Burger King, Land Rover and Jamba Juice, and Joel Kotkin, an internationally-recognized authority on global, economic, political and social trends who’s sharing the latest insights on class in America – we’re putting the leaders who attend to work!
For a couple of hours during the day, leaders will head to one of five breakout sessions to share their best ideas for change in the community. The breakout sessions are covering the topics of:
- Urban Core: To be a great place, our urban cores need to have great energy and great soul. How do we make that happen? How do we get more people to gather in our downtowns? What are we missing?
- Arts, Culture & Creativity: What’s the future of public art in Southwest Michigan? How can we use art and creativity to celebrate people?
- Public Services: As budgets are shrinking, how can we be more resourceful about our public services? What has the most impact? Is it time for community wide Wi-Fi? What’s the next thing we need to be cutting edge?
- Transportation & Mobility: How can we improve hike & bike trails in Southwest Michigan? How can we make our downtowns more “walkable?”
- Education & Workforce Development: With many great colleges in our region, how do we retain top talent? What does better education look like? How do we prepare for the workforce of tomorrow?
After the breakouts, each group will get to “pitch” one big idea to our expert panel of community movers and shakers for immediate feedback on how to make their plan a reality. Simply put: Populus is about challenging and empowering leaders to roll up their sleeves and get stuff done.
If you live in the Southwest Michigan community, I sincerely hope to see you there. We need you to share your ideas! And even if you don’t – this is a great opportunity to walk away with tons of big ideas to take back to your own community, wherever that may be.
You can register at www.populus.me/register. Tickets to attend are just $100.
See you on May 1 in downtown Kalamazoo.
Question: What ideas have you been pondering lately for great change in your community?