The May 31 meeting, tagged by one participant as “the most authentic I have experienced,” was coming to a close. Standing in front were Kathy Schmidlkofer, executive vice president of Greater MSP and Pat Born, regional administrator for the Metropolitan Council. Promising “We are going to do more together,” they inspired others to keep the conversation alive, and to step up the level of collaboration across the region’s civic organizations.
Jim Hovland, co-chair of the Regional Council of Mayors, quickly added that this agenda would be front and center for mayors. Other participants, representing the wide range of organizations, spoke up to emphasize their dedication to do what needs to be done to move this region ahead.
Rising from the myriad ideas generated April 19, May 31 got clear focus: making a great region an even greater place; making and mastering a compelling message, a common voice and brand to tell the story; and making a movement that keeps the energy going and produces results.
Drilling down into priorities, participants talked about what matters most and what has to happen first. Table talk sessions produced fresh ideas for how to enable action. (See meeting summary links below.) No one suggested minimizing challenges, but solid consensus formed about taking an aspirational tone as we work, celebrating assets, “breaking out of that Minnesota reserve.” Instead of operating from fear of threats to natural resources, we can both protect and leverage these assets to make a better place and a stronger economy. As Jay Walljasper a national writer who lives here put it, “I can get on my bike and be down on the river, all nature around me, yet I’m also in the middle of a metro area of three million people.”
Action, participants advised, depends both on collaboration – working together for someone everyone wants; but also individual initiative. “It’s the first follower who turns the lone nut into a leader.” (See video link to Tedx talk below.) That’s how every movement begins.
A robust round of thankful applause for the convening and organizing leadership provided by Caren Dewar and Minnesota ULI brought the meeting to an end.
Click here to read more about the Greater MSP Ahead Initiative