At our Southern Oregon Business Conference just two weeks ago, one of the speakers referenced an “R” word while sharing his findings on whether the economy would experience another “recession” anytime soon. He offered that the data in the normal metrics tracked by economists did not support this; and then he explained how hard it can be to truly predict a pending recession.
Feeling a bit more relaxed that there is not an impending recession, I am reminiscing a bit this week on a few of the “R” words that capture our focus at SOREDI.
We are head over heels in love with creating and cultivating relationships at every turn – SOREDI is fundamentally in the relationship business. Our daily mantra is to help individuals simply take the next step toward their business goal. This sometimes occurs a bit randomly; but most of the time it’s more purposeful. Here are two current examples from just this last week:
Exhibit A: In the photo you will find Rob Merriman, SOREDI’s Community Development Manager with Jazmine, an electrical engineer at Linx Technologies, based in Merlin. They happened to meet up at the Careers in Gear event, last week at Central High School. SOREDI participated as a sponsor and displayed many of our Southern Oregon business profiles to share with the hundreds of students in attendance. We take every opportunity to share the great careers available right here in Southern Oregon. Turns out, this was not the first time Jazmine and Rob connected; in fact, they first connected over a year ago at a career fair held at Oregon Tech in Klamath Falls where Jazmine was a student. Here is her story … “It was great finally getting to meet you and tell you in person how grateful I am for the help you gave me last year. Without it, I likely wouldn’t have been able to stay in the Rogue Valley…it seems most of the engineers in my graduating class from OIT weren’t aware of all of the opportunities there are to stay in Southern Oregon…the work that you and SOREDI do is invaluable. Thank you again for all of your help. I believe without it, I would not have landed the job at Linx Technologies fresh out of school like I did.”
Exhibit B: On the same day, SOREDI held its first LAUNCH|Talk of the year in Ashland. Venture Catalyst, Alex Palmer, moderated a panel which included Craft 3, an SBA Lender with First Interstate Bank, a successful entrepreneur from HerdDogg, and a former entrepreneur now partnering in a private equity firm. The 40 plus guests listened attentively to the discussion and learned a bit about the importance of collateral, a business plan, market readiness, and margin. But when asked what might be the most important tip for a startup to consider as they seek funding? Build key relationships.
SOREDI is also fundamentally in the business of building relationships. If you have read this far, you may be interested in our 8 R’s of Relationship Building:
- Right – We have the right people on the bus who are committed to helping individuals every day simply take the next step toward their business goal. And we do the right thing for the right reason without personal or political agendas.
- Relevancy – We may think what we do matters but if we are not transparent so that our stakeholders and partners understand the value offered in the work, it is neither relevant nor transparent. Transparency in our processes and outcomes is foundational to building trust.
- Reputable – We are 32 years old and going strong. SOREDI is respected by its peers, leaders throughout the region and state, and the business community.
- Responsive – We respond to every phone call and email. Every inquiry.
- Rigorous – We are committed to completing the work, providing timely follow up, and taking responsibility to find out answers. We own our work. And we keep looking for a better, more efficient way in anticipation of the next opportunity.
- Rogue – Maybe just a little. We have this rowdiness that spills over a bit here and there simply because we love what we do. We savor every crazy idea that may lead to serving the business community better.
- Resourceful – It’s no secret that sustaining a non-profit agency is a hefty endeavor. We are not resting on our laurels and becoming complacent. We are doggedly moving forward like the businesses we serve must also do – every day – to identify resources that sustain our work long term.
- Results-driven – Back to my opening illustrations. Not all things that can be measured count; and not all things that count can be measured. But based on Jazmine’s enthusiastic testimony above, I am thinking we ought to heartily count her job in the success column!
Here is the bottom line again – we are relationship-mongers – and that is a good thing. We don’t want to simply show up for a nice conversation. We want to pursue ongoing, collaborative, and outcome-based relationships with businesses, community leaders, students and partners – because we believe this is what it takes to move forward, create outcomes that matter, and become the most business friendly region on the west coast.
Thank you for your relationship with SOREDI – we regard it highly and are pleased to count it in our success column!
Colleen Padilla, Executive Director