Stakeholders from a cross section of the Northwest Arkansas region participated in a strategy session November 9, 2017, at the JBU Center in Rogers. Led by facilitators from Mitchell Communications, the session was designed to identify top priorities for key focus areas which will then be used to design and draft a strategic plan. The focus areas are Government Leadership and Equitable Access, Community Civic Engagement, Economic Development, Education and Safe and Connected Communities.
The session yielded productive discussions which resulted in several common themes that resonated with all participants:
1. Communication: Communication is key, and it is a broad, over-arching theme. Whether the topic is communicating with newcomers or current residents, being strategic about how different publics receive information is critical. Method or channel of communication is as important as the message and audience.
2. Meeting people where they are: All of the discussion groups touched on the importance of meeting people where they are. In order to create a welcoming, inclusive community, there needs to be understanding of the challenges, cultures, barriers to communication, etc. that a particular group might face, whether they are in a group determined by ethinicity or by sexual orientation, faith, etc.