Notes from Colleen’s Desk: Dandelion Obsessions


Every morning, I sit at my dining room table with my coffee, Bible, and journal. All is peaceful and seemingly on track until I peer out my window and spot another dreaded dandelion.

It is a temporary distraction, though currently it really feels like more of an obsession.

I feel compelled as I leave for work each morning, to grab my dandelion digger on the way into the garage and destroy at least threeof those yellow marvels, before driving away. Same story when I return home later. That digger is in my hand while I march across the lawn in my dress clothes, yelling something like “I see youDandelion, you can’t hide from me… your days are numbered!”

My mother, a stay-at-home homemaker and gardener extraordinaire, was masterful at keeping the yard free from dandelions, to maintain fabulously lush green lawns. I have fond recollections of her walking the expansive lawn (think half-acre!) bare footed in her cut off shorts, and tank top. She’d dutifully stop at each dandelion and douse it witha shot of something that is probably outlawed today. And if that didn’t do it, she had her dandelion digger in her other hand.

Manicured lawns and gardens certainly require regular attention and maintenance. Kind of a full-time job, actually. It is not unlike our business community; it needs regular attention. Business development is SOREDI’s full time job.

For two years SOREDI has been mostly unable to be out and about visiting traded-sector manufacturers, technology companies and our large employers in person. A fundamental component of our charter is to be making consistent outreach calls to uncover unmet needs, understand business concerns, and simply nurture relationships so that our business community is thriving.

Virtual meetings were fine – as that was our only option. But now, we are eager to get back out and perhaps clear a few weeds that may be impeding growth. It is the number one most important thing we do to help understand not only the business’ needs, but industry trends. It is the first objective within our One Rogue Valley Strategy.

1.1. Strengthen the region’s business retention and expansion (BRE) program. A strong BRE strategy is essential for a successful economic development organization, as the bulk of job creation (and contraction) comes from established businesses.1 Promote economic development and business support services throughout the region, including in rural and underserved communities

Last week, the SOREDI Board of Directors met and approved our annual budget, which primarily supports professional staff capacity to do the work of business development, operate our loan program, and coordinate various events that connect businesses, educators, partners, and community leaders. SOREDI is a 501c4 nonprofit agency and primarily, our revenues fall into only 4 consistent categories: Membership, Events, Loan Program, and an Annual Planner Grant from the Economic Development Administration.

SOREDI is strong and continues to seek relevant ways in which to serve the region. Membership support (hey, that is you!) represents nearly 69% of our 2022-23 budget!

Jurisdictional membership support accounts for about 59% of membership revenues and the private sector picks up the 41% balance. Membership revenues have grown 136% in the public sector and 346% in the private sector in the last twenty years. You are helping us do great things and nurture a business-friendly garden, right here in Southern Oregon. A big shout out to our 175 private sector members and 15 jurisdictions who contribute significantly to SOREDI to ensure that this agency is sustained well into the future and continues to offer complimentary business services to companies seeking to launch, relocate, and prosper in Southern Oregon.

Unlike my dandelion obsession at home, we are quite obsessed with helping our business community grow. Thus, we say frequently that we are wildly serious about business development.

We have shared this before, but it bears repeating: SOREDI does not charge a fee for its general outreach services so that every business has quick access to resources as they seek to grow and expand in Southern Oregon. You help us do that with your membership support!

We may be biased, but we love to visit companies and help reducebarriers (like removing the dandelions) for entrepreneurs, existing companies, and new business alike. We are ready to get back to business and have our own Round Up planned (not to be confused with my mom’s dandelion solution) coming in June.

Please join us for updates, funand some much deferred networking at our Round Up on the Rogue annual meetingon June 30 in Grants Pass. Yes, it will be a Hell(gate) of an evening as we take a Hellgate Dinner Excursion!

Tickets are limited – please register today!  2022 Annual Meeting – SOREDI

With our next fiscal year approaching on July 1 please be on the lookout, too, for your annual membership invoice (via QuickBooks) and our annual membership letter

Thank you for your confidence in this agency! Thank you for helping us ensure that our business landscape stays well-manicured, green, and growing!


Colleen Padilla, Executive Director

P.S. I tried my first dandelion cookie the other night. It was delightful. But it still does not mean that I am on speaking terms with any of those dandelions which are taking residence in my lawn. 😊

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