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 Initiative, Regional 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.
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.
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
RIO HONDO: Bridge Fest and More
By Ben Medina, City Administrator, Rio Hondo, Texas
NOCONA: The Value of Thinking About What’s Next
By Donna Culpepper, Executive Director, Nocona Economic Development Corporation
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.