For the next couple of days, I will be traveling with a group of St. Louisans through one of the country’s most interesting regions: our own. This year’s “Leadership Exchange Trip” — usually a three-day visit to another city for fresh ideas and new perspectives — will stay at home to try to see St. Louis through the eyes of its visitors, immigrants, and newest businesses.
The agenda recreates the experiences to which recent visiting leadership delegations from Charlotte, Richmond, and Jacksonville were subjected. We’ll tour revitalized neighborhoods and innovative technology locations. We’ll look at the airport, the Central Business District, and the new ballpark. We’ll hear about economic development initiatives, new marketing plans, and the region’s concerted efforts to recruit and maintain minority talent.
I’ve argued for this destination for several years. Too many regional leaders are strangers to their own City.
While many of our region’s economic, social, and political challenges are formidable, they all have solutions . . . if more St. Louisans can overcome the comfortable habits of aiming too low, beginning too late, and settling for too little. This “trip” will open some eyes: to work still undone and — equally important — to the great things that have already been accomplished.
I’ll let you know what I saw when I can sneak away from the group again.