I don’t know about you, but my motivations are personal: I want community excellence for my family. BUT – here’s the bigger deal: If we create a community of excellence that delights each of us who live here, might we not attract others who want what we have? And isn’t attracting talent for our community and workforce one of community priorities?
As our Economic Development gurus remind us regularly, our community is in competition every day, with every community in the US and the world. We compete for every higher ed student, patient, gas customer, tourist, cool creative, professional, lawyer, doctor, medical support staffer, every retail giant, restaurant, grocery, history lover, airplane commuter, banker, accountant, musician, artist, manager, line worker, educator, etc.
Those who are shopping for a desirable place to live or work will likely be attracted to one or another prospect because it has what we want: it looks great, is “with it,” clean, “put together,” great schools and lots to do, a place where citizens celebrate community identity, or history or uniqueness, abundant money or fresh veggies, or has whatever defining excellence they’re looking for. Industry may require water and power, but the individuals, natives or newcomers, will likely be attracted to one or another community by the excellence which the citizens who live there have pursued for their OWN best quality of life.
Bottom line: our collective commitment to creating community excellence for ourselves anchors our ability to compete. And if there was ever a time to be competitive, this is it.
Ruth Ellen Whitt
Executive Director, Leadership Texarkana