Community Leaders Speak Series

Just a thought....

Community Leaders Speak is a series of writings prompted by the discussions during IC2 Regional XLR8 Program which convened 150 leaders from 58 communities across all regions of Texas, September – October 2020. As a part of the IC2 Regional Economic Recovery InitiativeRegional XLR8 is a new type of “accelerator” that helps communities rethink recovery, take strategic action, and build resilience. During this intensive 6-week program, leaders actively engaged in full & regional group discussions around human-centered approaches.

Regional XLR8 platform allowed and encouraged these leaders to re-think approaches to problems, meet with community members for input on priorities, and plan strategic action. During weekly meetings, leaders also engaged in spirited and thoughtful discussions with their co-participants—including leaders from neighboring communities and those hundreds of miles away.

Almost all who participated said they would recommend the program to a colleague, and most were enthusiastic about the rare opportunity they were offered to talk candidly with people who were facing similar challenges.

“We really liked hearing about what other communities are working on,” and “it felt good to know we aren’t alone.”

– XLR8 Community leader

Many different—and sometimes opposing—viewpoints were represented in group discussions. After hearing their interesting conversations, we created the series to provide a platform for their voice, their issues and actions, and ultimately, their specific stories.

Community Leaders Speak Pieces

PRAIRIEVIEW: Community-Building and the Power of Stories

By Frank Jackson, Director of Community Affairs, Prairie View A&M University and former-Mayor.

SPUR: Community Newspapers, Cornerstone of Community Building

By Barbara Brannon, Editor of The Texas Spur

BASTROP: Better Together, B.E.S.T. Group of Bastrop County. Regional Collaboration.

By April Daniels, Executive Director, Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce

JACKSBORO: From a Crisis, Pivoting to Greater Strength

By Leslie Chalmers, Executive Director, Jacksboro Economic Development Corporation.

Miesha Adames

SWEETWATER: New Housing, A Practical Approach

By Miesha Adames, Marketing & Administrative Director, Sweetwater Economic Development Corporation.


MARSHALL: Answered. “What is my EDC doing for me?”

By Rush Harris, CEcD, Executive Director, Marshall Economic Development Corporation

Ben Medina - City of Rio Hondo

RIO HONDO: Bridge Fest and More

By Ben Medina, City Administrator, Rio Hondo, Texas

Author Spotlight - Donna Culpepper

NOCONA: The Value of Thinking About What’s Next

By Donna Culpepper, Executive Director, Nocona Economic Development Corporation 

Katie Lingor

BORGER: Win-Win Solution for Urban and Rural Texas

By Katie Lingor, Executive Director, Borger Economic Development Corporation

These stories represent the views of individual XLR8 participants—in their own words.  More pieces from community leaders will be added here and on IC2 Blogs as we continue our research and programs with community leaders.