Every year, I am asked to present at one of the Leadership Triangle classes. In the past, the class has been based more on an experiential learning. However, this year, it was decided to recruit some of the most talented professionals in the Triangle to talk about the creation of a 21st century region. The list included:
- Dr. William (Bill) Atkinson, former president at WakeMed
- Dr. Tony Habit, president of NC New Schools
- Mitchell Silver, planning director for the City of Raleigh; past president of the American Planning
- Deborah Ross, former Representative to the NC House; attorney for Triangle Transit
Those that attended the class were engaged and impacted by these community leaders talking about transit, education, diversity, demographics, quality of life and quality of place. However, there was one common thread that was needed for success and change in all of the above mentioned areas, and that was the right leadership.
I was struck during the wrap up when one of the class members said what impressed her most was the “intentionality” around doing this work correctly. It takes a great deal of knowledge, talent, insight and leadership to see what needs to be done and also to know how to make it happen.
The featured speakers have been in the trenches making the Triangle region better for years. This future generation will be the core of the question of, “How we can double in size while improving our quality of life?” As we look to the future, these Leadership Triangle class members will have the opportunity to shape our region in a way we haven’t seen in generations.
Our goal is simple, 30 years from now, we want Wake County and the Raleigh area to remain within the top 10 places to live, raise a family and start a business. The future is ours to envision and to create. So, let the journey begin as we look to our future leaders to pave the way.
The answers are discoverable. The talent is in the region. It is up to us collectively begin to better understand these complex issues around education, transportation, environmental protection, parks, greenways, open space and urban design. No one said the journey was going to be easy, but done correctly with bold new leadership and vision, we can create our nation’s first 21st century region.