Tag: rural leadership


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Does Communication Really Have to be So Hard in Small Towns?

Blog, News & Events on April 2nd. Comments Off on Does Communication Really Have to be So Hard in Small Towns?

One-by-one, sixteen local leaders from multiple neighboring
rural communities, courageously, yet with some hesitancy, walked through the
door of the community room. They did not know what to expect from this
gathering. They didn’t even all know each other. The group, representing city
councils, county commission, and economic development corporation, had been
personally invited by the county-wide economic development director to hear
from a special guest on the topic of how they could work better together to
make their region stronger.

As each leader entered the room the smell of pizza greeted
them, making them feel welcome. After some small talk while they ate their
pizza, the local leaders were asked to sit down at the tables that had
purposely been positioned into a large rectangle, so they could see each other.
The meeting began with introductions and each of them shared why they chose to
be a leader. The group was … Read More »


Not Too Small to Have It All!

Blog, News & Events on February 15th. Comments Off on Not Too Small to Have It All!

There have been too many years of disinterest and disinvestment in rural America and at times I grow weary of defending the value of the rural place I call home to a national audience. I recently read multiple articles about the rural underclass and the poverty that plagues our landscape from Bloomberg Business, NY Times, and Wall Street Journal. One of those articles written by Paul Krugman stated, “once upon a time dispersed agriculture ensured that small cities serving rural hinterlands would survive. But for generations we have lived in an economy in which smaller cities have nothing going for them except historical luck, which eventually tends to run out.”

I need to ask, is your community living in this fairytale and just running on historical luck, like the author suggests? Or, are you investing in your community … Read More »


If they want to lead, empower them to lead

Blog, News & Events on October 3rd. Comments Off on If they want to lead, empower them to lead

Leaders are the essence of small towns and rural communities. The success or failure of any housing, community or economic development efforts in the places we call home often rests upon the level of engagement and investment of local citizen leaders. Yet, in so many communities I work in across South Dakota there is an invisible divide holding back the development of a strong leadership base. I hear experienced leaders saying, “Young people just don’t want to be involved in the community!”  and I hear emerging leaders saying, “The people in charge won’t let us try anything new!”

So, I am asking you, “How can we empower more people to lead in our rural communities?

To begin searching for a solution to this question, I want to help you understand two community leadership systems that exist:

Most community leadership systems currently operate in … Read More »


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