Inclusive Regional Leadership & Opportunity

Globally competitive, equal opportunity, and sustainable regions require inclusive, well-informed, focused, and unified leadership that speaks with a clear voice. Effective regional leadership must draw from the public, private, and civic sectors; include diverse voices representing the region’s multitude of ages, ethnicity, races, and socioeconomic groups; and pay particular attention to those voices that traditionally have not been represented in regional processes. The relative “newness” of the Southeast Florida region as an integrated economy, combined with the diversity and transitory nature of the region’s population, make identifying, developing, and retaining leaders a particular concern compared to more mature regions.

The Southeast Florida Council of the Urban Land Institute compiled a Regional Leadership report to identify the necessary steps required for implementation of the plan. They highlighted elements of a number of regional models that could be extracted for use in South Florida. ULI found that organizations benefited the most when composed of members from both the private and public sector, encompassing many of the major interests in the region. The composition and qualification of staff was a determining factor of adeptness. Successful organizations also worked to provide a forum for discussion, rather than dominating a conversation or striving to have the final word on substantive matters. Organizations with a clearly defined scope performed especially well. Rather than taking on too many tangentially related projects, focusing on one substantial goal proved to be most effective. Funding came from a variety of sources, including donations, membership fees, and government, while necessarily remaining private.

The Partners of the Seven50 Consortium must in- corporate a range of educational and collaborative strategies to create a vital network of regional leaders and champions who can guide the region through the choices of today to set the stage for the future; identify and develop emerging leaders who can guide the region tomorrow; and create more opportunities for involvement of leaders who have been underrepresented in the past.

As other regions have experienced, this civic capacity may be the single most lasting impact of this visioning process.

Who is in charge here? No one group. There are 121 individual municipalities.

Who speaks for the region? No one person – especially given that our state capital is 500 miles away.

Are there advantages to this dispersal of authority? Absolutely. There is more local control when power continues to be delegated to the group most affected by governmental decisions.

Who will continue the Seven50 effort? Many individual organizations. Perhaps new advocacy groups will form, but no new overarching regulatory organization is proposed. Leaders rise from the regional conversation hosted by Seven50, not from an official action, but rather because of individual initiative, timely relevance and a unified objective.

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