I’ve been spending a bit of time in the garden lately – planting, watering, and of course, weeding. A lot of weeding!
No doubt, there are a lot of lessons to be learned in the garden about effectively cultivating the soil, nurturing the young and tender seedlings, and relentlessly pulling out every weed that threatens to choke out the intended fruit of all that labor. And as time-consuming as weeding has become for me, its application to managing a nimble, yet relevant and effective agency, is appropriately on my mind after having just closed our 32nd year of business in June. If you happened to attend our annual meeting – you know that we were certainly on a Rogue Adventure this past year – all for the purpose of growing our regional economy in the most thoughtful and productive way possible.
But, lest I get too far into the weeds here, let me just start with the most critical and relevant factor I think is the start of every vibrant garden: the soil. And likewise, when I think about the most important element that is fundamental to this agency, but more importantly, Southern Oregon, I can’t help but think about the nearly 190 engaged members who make financial and in-kind commitments to this agency.
All of YOU create the fertile soil that allows us to do the work of economic development in the region. YOU make it possible for us to cultivate great relationships and provide complimentary business services to growing Southern Oregon companies. YOUR leadership, engagement and financial contributions are the very nutrients that have caused this agency to thrive. And YOU are in good company – check out all of our generous gardeners (supporters) here: https://soredi.org/member-directory/
SOREDI is also grateful to our 28-member regional board of dedicated professionals and community leaders, many of whom have cultivated hearty regional and statewide relationships for years. This year, a longtime local manufacturer and friend to just about every board imaginable– Bill Thorndike – completed a 10-year stint on our board, including serving as our Board President for two years, 2013-2015. Thank you Bill! Pictured with him is our Current Board President, Steve Vincent, Vice President, Terri Coppersmith, and Secretary, Mike Lynch. Here is a link to see who served on our board in the last fiscal year – https://soredi.org/about/staff-board/board/
SOREDI is currently engaged with a consultancy, TIP Strategies, Inc., in a discovery process of identifying our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. We’ve been engaging focus groups from throughout the region – tourism, workforce, education, development, healthcare, manufacturing, technology, real estate, and more. All of you influence the work of SOREDI and we trust you have had opportunity to engage directly with us over the last year. If not, we invite your insights now as we consider where we should focus our efforts over the next 5 years that will yield the most fruit toward economic prosperity in Southern Oregon.
There are many things we could be doing – a lot of great ideas to chase or perhaps, set aside. We know we are not equipped to do all things and must be strategically focused. Maybe we need to do a little weeding, prune a bit, or plant new seeds. What will it be? Let’s not plant rhubarb when we should be planting cabbage.
We want your gardening insight! Please write us and share your gardening tips anytime. And watch for a final report in mid-November regarding our updated 5-year plan of economic development strategic gardening.
Colleen Padilla, Executive Director