The Blog

September Changemaker: Carol Evans

September Changemaker: Carol Evans

Carol Evans, Executive Director, Legacy Parks Foundation  //

What is your advice for the next generation of city changemakers?

The best advice I can give to the next generation is to listen in many different ways. So many people are passionate and have great ideas. It is extremely important to give these talented people a voice and a platform.

An expression I like to use is to “make the table rounder and larger.” By this I mean it is part of my job to invite people to this table so that their ideas can be heard and we can achieve sustained success. In my line of work, you do not always have to come up with the best idea but you have to be able to identify the best idea.

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What’s the Role of Economic Development Organizations in Inclusive Growth?

What’s the Role of Economic Development Organizations in Inclusive Growth?

Cross-posted from Regional Growth Strategies blog.  By Pete Carlson, President, Regional Growth Strategies //

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a day with local economic development leaders from across the country to explore the role of economic development organizations (EDOs) in achieving more inclusive growth. The strong interest in the meeting suggest that a lot of EDOs are wrestling with this question.

I, too, have been wrestling with this question for some time now, and I’ve come to a few conclusions about what works and what doesn’t that might be useful to others heading down this path.

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Building A Walkable City

Building A Walkable City

By Daniel Drees, Cleveland Foundation Summer City Fellow, CEOs for Cities // 

Walkable Cities

Jeff Speck’s book, Walkable City, might have been published in 2012, but his ideas are still revolutionizing American cities. It’s not written for the car-dependant urban dweller.  If you are adamant about continuing your white-knuckled commute, then you will not be friends with this book. If you think that people on bikes ruin the roads in your city or you might only consider the bus an option if your car breaks down, you will not like what Speck has to say about walkability, bikeability, and transit. Speck’s steps to achieve a walkable city are unapologetic odes to those for whom cities were first designed: the people.

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August Changemaker: Tanisha Robinson

August Changemaker: Tanisha Robinson

Tanisha Robinson, Founder + CEO, Print Syndicate //

How did Print Syndicate get started?

I grew up in a small town in Missouri, in a large Mormon family. I didn’t really fit in. In high school, with the launch of AOL chatrooms, I was able to find other odd kids like me and a place to belong. Twenty years later, the Internet is a place where, regardless of geography, people can find belonging among others just like them.

While I was the director of marketing at a company similar to Café Press, I realized that there was an interesting opportunity at the intersection of on-demand printing and creating a timely response to what people talk about on social media.

Print Syndicate’s purpose is to enable self-expression through exceptional design. And, through self-expression, hopefully to enable self-acceptance.

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Believeland. The Secret Sauce of City Success.

Believeland. The Secret Sauce of City Success.

By: Lee Fisher, Senior Advisor, CEOs for Cities   |   @fisher4cities

My father-in-law, the legendary West Side Cleveland City Councilman Michael J. Zone was a prisoner of war in WWII.  Less than 60 days after he and Mary Zone (who served in Cleveland City Council after Mike died) were married, Mike enlisted in the army; and 30 days later he was caught by the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge.

Mike never talked about his experience, even to his own family, so everyone wondered how Mike survived as a POW when stronger, healthier, and younger men did not. One day we found the answer.

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July Changemaker: David Ginsburg

July Changemaker: David Ginsburg

From the start of our conversation with David Ginsburg, president & CEO of Downtown Cincinnati Inc., and our July City Changemaker, David explained he believes no one is a changemaker alone. Rather, change occurs through the collaborative, focused and sustained efforts of committed and diverse teams.

How did you get to where you are now?
It was not a direct line. I came to this position through the retail industry. I worked for 20 years for Marshall Fields, first as a stock person, then a sales person, then a buyer, and eventually in store management. I moved to Cincinnati to work for U.S. Shoe Corporation, where I directed merchandising and management support services for more than 300 stores nationwide. During this period, I had the opportunity to visit two to three cities each week. I saw how downtowns and suburbs were changing and how they interacted.  During a time of ownership transition at U.S. Shoe, Downtown Cincinnati Inc (DCI). was being formed and I was hired by the new organization as Vice President of Retail Development.

Was this transition hard?
It seemed that everything I had done in the past was perfect preparation for my role in leading DCI.  This job has taken all of the skills I developed throughout my career – customer service, quick response, a sense of urgency – coupled with my ability to solve problems and my understanding of downtowns.  It has also been an opportunity to implement the many things I have learned from bosses, mentors, and colleagues.

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Summer of Purpose: Daniel Drees

Summer of Purpose: Daniel Drees

Cross-posted from Cleveland Foundation blog. By: Daniel Dress, Cleveland Foundation Summer City Fellow, CEOs for Cities // 

Daniel Burnham, a renowned urban planner associated with the 19th-century City Beautiful movement, once famously stated, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and our grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us.”

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Change at the Speed of Trust

Change at the Speed of Trust

By: Lee Fisher, Senior Advisor, CEOs for Cities   |   @fisher4cities

 

When teammates trust each other and anticipate each other’s every pass and dribble, they win an NBA championship, reverse a 52-year professional sports losing streak, and help a city believe in itself again. When the public, private, and nonprofit sectors trust each other and leverage their resources, they can transform a tired downtown block into a vibrant public square in the heart of the city.

When legislators in Washington DC can’t agree on whether to prohibit those on the no-fly list created by the U.S. Terrorist Screening Center to buy a gun, we lose trust in our elected officials who too often put allegiance to narrow special interests over common sense. When too many citizens and police instinctively distrust each other, the police shootings of Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Freddie Gray tear communities apart.

As we struggle to understand the recent police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in St. Paul, and the murders of Dallas law enforcement officer Brent Thompson and four of his fellow fallen officers, we face a perfect storm of anguish and anger. “We’re hurting,” David Brown, the Dallas police chief, said. Philando Castle’s fiancé, Diamond Reynolds said “this is bigger than all of us.”

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International Students Are U.S. Business’ Best Hope For Growth

International Students Are U.S. Business’ Best Hope For Growth

by Steve Tobocman, Global Detroit // 

This week, as Donald Trump doubles down on anti-immigrant political rhetoric, hundreds of thousands of international students will say goodbye to the U.S. to return, degrees in hand, to their home countries. Far from being a drain on the American economy or threat to U.S. jobs, these talented graduates—disproportionately armed with graduate STEM degrees—could fill a very real need for companies that want to grow and create more jobs.

Ramsoft Systems, a Detroit-based information technology (IT) solutions firm with over 400 employees, is the archetype for America’s economic future. The company hires as many as 100 entry-level workers each year from local Michigan universities, seeking out highly-skilled IT, computer science, engineering, business, and other STEM graduates to retain its competitive edge serving clients like BMW, Hewlett Packard, Miller Brewing Company, and Northrop, among others.

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