The Role of Emerging Leaders in Northeast Indiana’s Vision 2030 Goals

June 4th, 2018

The Emerging Leaders Alliance (ELA) works to create opportunities for action, growth and regional pride. As part of this mission, ELA members actively participate in Vision 2030 committees and taskforces, representing the voice of young leaders in regional projects.

Vision 2030 sets three major goals for the region to achieve by 2030:

  • Increase PCPI annually against the national average
  • Increase the population of Northeast Indiana to 1 million residents
  • Increase postsecondary educational attainment to more than 60 percent

Three committees carry out actions items in the community to move the needle toward these goals. The Business AttractionTalent Development and Talent Attraction committees are made up of business and community leaders as well as ELA members.

In this blog, we interview with ELA Member Sami Blair to learn more about a young leader’s role in Vision 2030. Sami serves on the Talent Attraction subcommittee and works as a Marketing Coordinator at the Noble County Economic Development Corporation.

What does your position on the Talent Attraction subcommittee look like?

Rural talent attraction is a team effort. At this point, we are really focused on bringing a diverse group of people to the table to understand the perceptions of rural residents on what it’s like living and working in our rural communities. It’s great to be able to bring in my contacts from Noble County to add value to the project.

What is the mission of your subcommittee?

Our long-term goal is to grow the population in Northeast Indiana, but there are lots of avenues and steps to take to get there. For our rural areas specifically, I think it’s good to start small. For example, growing community pride and projecting positive perceptions of our community is something we will focus on. It’s also important to understand that people at the local level are really the ones who can start to making a difference.

What is something exciting happening right now in this task force?

Right now, we are working on planning events throughout Noble County to gather data from locals, but they’re not focus groups, per se. These events are meant to be fun and casual. During the event, we hope to spark organic conversation and ideas among young leaders and future leaders. We’ve executed one of these events so far, and it was exciting to see the passion these people have for their communities.

How does your role in Talent Attraction help you represent the voice of young leaders in Northeast Indiana?

Since I live and work in two very different communities in Northeast Indiana, I believe I have a well-rounded perspective of what it’s like to live and work in a rural and urban environment. I think being able to express my views as a young person myself adds perspective to our region’s economic development work.

How have you grown in this position?

I’ve definitely had to step out of my comfort zone and take on a leadership role. I have learned to speak up and voice my ideas with a lot more confidence, too! Having a supportive team that values my opinions has really helped with finding my voice and sharing my input.

Why do you think is it important for emerging leaders to have a voice in regional issues?

Emerging leaders are the future of the region. What’s important to “us” is likely what’s important to the majority of our generation, and that’s who will soon be the decision makers in Northeast Indiana. It’s imperative that we project that voice now so we can prepare for what lies ahead.

- by Rachel Stephens, ELA Member