This Sound Bite comes from Sara Dunnigan’s essay of the same name. Wanna read more? Sure you do. Get your copy the way you like it.
Then I got my first job in economic development, and I met a lot of real people working very hard in many different ways to support economic growth in their communities.
And I learned that it’s never as easy as the book says. Data can only take you so far, and you have to fit your strategy to your circumstances. Or you have to change your circumstances.
And I think that’s where we are in figuring out how to help communities thrive. We’re recognizing the strengths and limitations of our past practices and expanding our thinking about what the work we do for communities means.
Despite that change in my perspective, my feelings about my work and the role that it can play in improving the human condition haven’t wavered. I believe that the greatest hope for change is a good job. I know that jobs can take many forms, and “good” can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. I believe that there is a meaningful role to play in encouraging and rewarding behaviors by people and industries that creates new economic opportunity. I believe smart planning, investments, and interventions can change the course for places and the people in them. But how I think we need to do this continues to change and evolve.