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Are you Switzerland? Let’s work together for our community

August 19, 2009

Andrew Westmoreland, president of Samford University, described the university as Switzerland in a state divided by Alabama and Auburn. In the context of the panel discussion hosted by Brock School of Business on August 19, that phrase could have been a description of neutrality. But it’s really a description of how Samford wants to play a vital role in our community as a neutral party intent on bringing major players together to make positive things happen .

In that context, we are proud to be Switzerland, too, at the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. And so are Dalton Smith at Birmingham Business Alliance, Bill Taylor at the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and Neal Wade at the Alabama Development Office. All of us are looking for ways to work together to move our community forward.

We all recognize the importance of regional efforts. And the two statewide organizations recognize the importance of the Birmingham area as a key to success for all of Alabama. Especially when times are hard, we must align our goals in order to make the most of limited resources.

Our version of Switzerland also is waving a pom-pom and yelling through a megaphone about the great things already going on in greater Birmingham. To each other and to the wider world, we need to show off opportunities like the revitalization going on near Railroad Park and the new Children’s Hospital. We need to talk about enhancements of leadership opportunities for school principals who will lead our children to successful careers, thanks to a solid education.

To mix in some more metaphors, this is not a Pollyanna, head-in-the-sand attitude. These are things that are going on already and that will help us build an even brighter future for everyone.

Yes, we know there are challenges, not just for our region but for our nation. But if the crowd at the Brock event was any indication, there are plenty of people ready to work and plan and show off our geography, our people and our business climate to savvy investors.

Yelling at each other doesn’t get anywhere, as Dalton Smith said. Instead, we need to be our own best sales force, promoting our very real pride in our community. Go, Switzerland!

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 8, 2011 2:06 pm

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