Earlier tonight I had the honor of being a guest speaker at the monthly meeting for the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County's board of directors, presenting a version of my talk on how we can build a more self-reliant Richmond, Indiana in the face of peaking availability of natural energy resources, global climate change, and the decline of the U.S. dollar. As I said about the November 2007 presentation, it was somewhat especially nerve-wracking because the topics covered are so important to me and, in my view, so important to the future of this community. Today it was also always a growing experience to step beyond the safety of the traditional, "business world/tech guy" kinds of interactions I have with some of these folks, exposing another side of my interests and passions along the way.
For condensing what was a 50 minute talk into a 15 minute whirlwind spewing of information, I think it went well. I had the sense that the EDC board and staff are a group of people who care about the health and future of this community and want to do what they can to make it better, and so even when I felt I was saying something that might have challenged them in new ways or taking on the very ways that the EDC approaches economic development, there were still those shared values around care for our homeland to bring us all together. And so amongst the board and other audience members there were the encouraging head nods, looks of surprise and interest, furious note-taking, and some great affirming comments afterward.
Of course, the question after a talk like that will always be "what happens now?" - what conversations will be started, what doors did I open (or close), what actual impact will be made? Whatever happens, it continues to feel like a privilege to be able to connect and share with decision-makers and community-builders in the place I call home.
Remember, if you're interested in having me give this talk to your group or organization, just let me know.