Last week hundreds of local leaders from around Michigan and elsewhere gathered on Mackinac Island to discuss the latest challenges facing cities and villages. Lots of research was presented, best practices were covered, and there was a free flow of new ideas for making better places throughout the land.
I know that a lot of the readers of this blog attend similar events in some capacity. Many are even in the business of putting on conferences. With this in mind, I would like to publicly thank the amazing cast of characters that were assembled in Michigan and offer a little insight into the subjects they covered and their importance to the future of streets, neighborhoods, and cities.
Here they are… I would highly recommend any of them for future events.
Clarence Anthony- A “walk- the-walk” kind of a leader, Clarence is the former mayor for the city of South Bay, Florida and a vocal “champion for the voiceless”. Despite being mayor for a relatively small community, he emerged as a city leader of national and international standing. It was with his election as 75th president of the National League of Cities for 1999 (only the second from a small city) that his arrival as a city leader on the national stage came. This was later augmented with his 2007 election as treasurer and first vice president of the United Cities and Local Governments organization. His thoughts on making a real difference in the lives of people in cities is inspiring to anyone within ear shot.
Jeff DeGraff- A high-energy guy, Jeff is the managing partner of Competing
Values, a consulting practice that specializes in helping organizations make enterprise innovation happen. He runs a leading innovation center, Innovatrium, and serves as an advisor to think tanks and governments. Often referred to as the Dean of Innovation
because he has taught hundreds of executives how to effectively lead innovation,
Jeff has been a guru to many innovation gurus. Jeff challenges local leaders and activists to change how they go about doing business in their communities and reimagine the playing field for improving their home towns.
Jennifer Goulet- Do you want to demonstrate the linkages between arts & culture and
economic prosperity? If so, Jennifer’s your gal. She is the president of ArtServe Michigan, providing leadership, vision, and management for the organization’s work in advocacy, capacity building, and strategic communications.
Chris Leinberger- Chris is president of LOCUS, Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors; the Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor, George Washington University School of Business; Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution in Washington DC; and a founding partner of Arcadia Land Company, a New Urbanism and transit-oriented development firm. His most recent book is The Option of Urbanism, Investing in a New American Dream. He was voted one of the “Top 100 Urban Thinkers” in a 2009 poll conducted by Planetizen, the international urban planning website. Read his work… listen to his speeches…. very smart guy.
Chuch Marohn- the executive director of Strong Towns, Chuck is one of my favorite bloggers and speakers on items of importance to cities. He is a rare individual who can dissect complex public policies and present them in a common sense way that anyone can understand, whether you’re a seasoned urban planner or a novice neighborhood activist.
Josh McManus- If you haven’t looked into the advances happening in the world of social innovation then you are missing out. Josh is lead inventor and curator of Little Things Laboratories, an independent innovation laboratory that identifies and acts on pressing problems and emerging opportunities in mid-sized and post-industrial cities. He is a social entrepreneur in residence at Ashoka in Washington, D.C. His current projects include the D:hive, a place-based talent retention and attraction storefront in Detroit, Michigan, and Haile’s Kitchen, a foundation innovation model in Cincinnati, Ohio. Josh also co-founded CreateHere, a watershed place-based talent retention and cultural change project in Chattanooga, Tennessee that sparked over 300 creative enterprises, stimulated over $4 million in real estate purchases, retained and attracted thousands of individuals to the city, and championed the world’s largest community visioning process with 26,263
Thanks to all of these great speakers the event was a real success.