Notes from the Montana Economic Development Summit

Sharing ideas and focusing on what small and large size businesses can do together to increase economic activity were the main agenda items for the summit. Montana will always have a special place in my heart because of growing up there, and now that I have had an opportunity as an adult to get to see and meet the business leaders who are contributing to its economic prowess, I am even more proud. The summit’s attendees and speakers were impressive including nationally recognized, Eric Schmidt, Meg Whitman, Sheryl Sandberg and many Montana business owners who gave great advice, asked excellent questions and ‘showed up’ ready to collaborate, learn and innovate.

One aspect that stood out to me was there were no filters on the questions being asked (i.e. no spin behind the scenes) so speakers and attendees were able to have authentic conversations (in front of a large audience mind you) and get to the heart of issues/challenges/solutions. And again the focus was always in sight – what can we realistically do together to make a difference and grow our economy – while laws and regulations were covered, the main goal was to identify what can be done NOW. From an HR and business owner perspective, I heeded this message and how it relates to helping move our clients’ goals and organizations forward.

Overall the conference was inspiring and made me also appreciate the Pacific Northwest and what companies are doing here to make it a great place to work and live. This has been highlighted in KUOW’s new series, The Big Reset, which is airing now and explores how the Puget Sound region has emerged from the Great Recession. Two of the main takeaways are that the Puget Sound region is fairing better than the rest of the country but we still have a ways to go, especially when it comes to urban verus rural areas. All good food for thought as fall begins and we start planning for our 2014 HR and business goals.

Speaking of events that inspire or that you are excited to attend – what events do you have lined up? TedTalks? Industry conferences? Education opportunities?

We’d like to hear your top three!

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