In 2007 the Lakeland Chamber engaged in a Key Strategic Initiative (KSI) to make Lakeland a place that engages the Creative Class; a place where both young and old can thrive and be attracted to stay our urban corner of the world. So a mission was established, that could guide this new concept.
"Enabling collaboration to encourage connectivity and integrate technology for the transformation of our community"
The concept, a ‘smart community’
- Defined by http://www.smartcommunities.org/ is a community that has made a conscious effort to use information technology to transform life and work within its region in significant and fundamental rather than incremental ways. The goal of such an effort is more than the mere deployment of technology. Rather it is about preparing one’s community to meet the challenges of a global, knowledge economy.
- Defined by the strategy group as "a community with a vision of the future that involves the use of information and communication technologies in new and innovative ways to empower its residents, institutions, and region as a whole" and defined in process by "Transforming life and work to meet the challenges of the new millennium."
This concept was introduced by Chamber Board Member & Vice President/CEO of USF Polytechnic, Dr. Marshall Goodman at the September 2006 Chamber retreat, in an effort to enable the Board to understand and engage the gravity of the challenges & effects of the global economy.
So with this basis the KSI members engaged in a process to effectively brand the idea, so people could grasp this concept. This was accomplished with the help of Kingston Partners and the final product being:
With a commitment by Chamber President Kathleen Munson and Board Vice Chair Anu Saxena of ASC Geosciences, the Chamber joined a leading organization in the development of these smart communities: CEOs for Cities.
Lakeland was the second city in Florida to join the organization, which showed the progressiveness of the decision. Currently Lakeland is 1 of 3 cities in Florida (Tampa and Miami being the other two) to have organizations join this group; and 1 of only 43 cities nationwide. Not only has the Chamber joined this initiative, but the esteemed Lakeland EDC has also joined the cause.
At this point, I am sure your interested in why I am telling you all of this. Here is the exciting part…The Chamber in cooperation with LEDCs High Skill Initiative are thrilled to announce that CEOs for Cities President, Carol Coletta, will be speaking at The Chamber’s Annual Board Retreat; in a presentation entitled "Transforming Lakeland’s DNA". These are exciting times for Lakeland, and I hope that our Board will listen and engage in what Ms. Coletta has to tell us.