Collaboration and Talent Attraction: Webinar Past and Future

Learning about the Power of Collaboration

Our last webinar about collaboration emphasized some key insights. 

  • Looking for that one company to come to town is not an economic development approach that works in rural. 
  • It is possible to bridge barriers and cooperate by starting with meaningful conversations. 
  • We already know how to collaborate in rural areas, so let’s take it regionally. 

A Collaborative Mindset is the Key

Dr Dell Gines seated comfortably with bookcase behind him

Dr. Dell Gines

Dell Gines, the Chief Innovation Officer at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), made a powerful point. He emphasized that the traditional approach of attracting large corporations doesn’t work well for rural communities like ours. Instead, Dell urged us to embrace a collaborative mindset, where we work together to create a shared vision and leverage our collective resources. 

As he so eloquently stated, “The degree to which you can figure out how to collaborate, how we can develop strong networks, cast aspirational visions, and move people together, is the degree to which I think that we’ll be able to save your towns.”

Becky McCray with downtown street and business behind her

Becky McCray

Connecting Through Shared Passions, Not Just Titles

Becky McCray, my co-founder at SaveYour.Town, shared inspiring stories that truly highlighted the transformative power of collaboration.

In one example from Potlatch, Idaho, some of the participants introduced themselves by sharing what they care about or like to do rather than just their organizational affiliations. This allows for meaningful connections to form, breaking down barriers and forging a shared sense of purpose.

Becky’s message was clear: by focusing on our shared passions and interests, we can build the bridges that drive real progress in our communities.


picture of Deb in front of store in Gulfport MSCollaboration is a Natural Fit for Rural Communities

Collaboration is a natural act in our communities. I acknowledged that the best collaborators often come from “regular people” making decisions every day about how to work together and stretch our limited resources. This grassroots, community-driven approach holds the key to unlocking our full potential.

Join us for the next webinar, Keeping and Attracting Talented People in Rural Places, with Melody Warnick

Melody is the author of two books: This Is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are, which explains the concept of place attachment and helps people fall in love with their town, and If You Could Live Anywhere: The Surprising Importance of Place in a Work-from-Anywhere World, which helps location-independent people find the right place to achieve success and happiness.

The topics we will be covering and discussing are: 

  • What people are looking for, expectation vs reality
  • Welcoming and place attachment
  • How being rural is an asset
  • Connecting across groups in the community
  • Telling your story
  • Keeping youth and bringing them back

Register here: Rural People and Place webinar

Keeping and Attracting Talented People in Rural Places

June 12 at 11 am Central

Melody Warnick, Becky McCray, and Deb Brown

Topics: Talent attraction, rural workforce development, place attachment