Day 6 - The BALLE Conference
|From Denver & The BALLE Conference|
What a perfect sign to be outside our hotel :D
Today was the Pre-Conference day in Denver. I coordinated with the director in Santa Fe, she's psyched for my visit and says she can line up the Mayor for an interview...sweet. Phoenix and San Fran/Oakland are also set, which makes life a bit easier for me.
One of the best parts of the day was getting to meet Jody Colley, publisher of the East Bay Express, in person for the first time. Jody has been instrumental in helping me build the strong relationships I now have in the Alternative Media and is a true superstar. She was the driving force behind a national story run in something like 80 markets asking people to spend $100 at Local Independent businesses. I'm so lucky to be connectd to her. We'll be meeting her soon in the Bay area.
Laury & I presented the 10% Shift in the afternoon. People were loving it, seeing what tremendous potential this program has to offer. I spoke to a colleague from Wisconsin later in the night who said it got her 'fired up'. Laury & I have a tendency to do that when we present together :)
After heading back to the hotel and getting some content together (still can't find a video editor that works and is not incredibly slow....this is making it really difficult to post videos longer than 10 minutes and ones that are taken at a 90 degree angle), I headed to the opening reception. We heard the Mayor of Denver who seemed to get it, and he was an entrepreneur of a local business before his time in politics - plus. After some 'speed networking' with other network leaders and dinner, we heard from two keynote speakers. Both of them come from a place I'm not dealing with much on this trip - small town America....and their stories were incredible.
June Holley helped support the growth and development of HUNDREDS of business in the Appalachian Ohio region through her incredible understanding of Networks and their power. She was living and creating the Tipping Point 25 years ago. She introduced a great concept of a community being "Rhizomatic", like a Ginger root, where every node is a spot for new roots to grow.
Tom Sterns is the second person from Hardwick Vermont that I've heard speak in the last 2 weeks. Yes, the trip is telling me I have to go there and with good reason. Tom and a group of entrepreneurs are becoming an internationally recognized model for reforming a local economy into one based around sustainability and agriculture. We'll see them towards the end of our trip, but I'll leave you with this: Like Buffalo, both Hardiwck and the neighborhoods of Appalachian Ohio have the buildings to thrive in the downtown areas, but they have/had fallen into disprepair. In Hardwick, there were four such properities, beautiful pieces of architecture that nobody wanted. You could buy a mansion for $100k. That was two years ago, before this economic crisis we keep hearing about. Tom told us tonight that all four of those properties are now sold, to local people, who are rennovating and reinvesting to build their home there.
....I can't wait to see for myself.