Welcome from Blandin President Dr. Kathleen Annette: 2015 #MNBroadband Conference

A lifelong resident of rural Minnesota and president and CEO of Blandin Foundation for the past four years, Dr. Kathleen Annette is a recognized leader at local, regional and national levels. Here is her welcome…

Thank you, Bernadine. I’m really glad to be here today to be part of this Broadband Builders Breakfast. Welcome everyone!

I’d like to begin by acknowledging the contributions of those of you who are actually doing the work of building our state’s broadband infrastructure. A special nod of recognition and appreciation to all of the providers who are in the room with us this morning.

I want also to acknowledge and thank DEED Commissioner Katie Sieben Clark, and Office of Broadband Development Director Danna MacKenzie and their colleagues for partnering with us to put on this conference. You helped the conference offerings grow from good to great.

In particular, I want to thank Lt. Governor Tina Smith and Governor Mark Dayton, for recognizing the significance of this gathering by choosing it as a venue for announcing the recipients of the state’s 2015 Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant awardees.

It is in vogue to call for “public-private collaboration” – and appropriately so, I think, for in this increasingly interdependent world no one sector or group alone can solve the complex problems that threaten a prosperous and healthy planet.

It is our shared responsibility and opportunity to partner better together for a better Minnesota. What’s more – it’s our “Minnesota way” to recognize that we all do better when we all do better.

But collaboration often is not easy. It takes trust and will and most of all – common commitment to creating public value.

In their new book, Public Value and Public Administration, Humphrey School professors John Bryson and Barbara Crosby and Carlson School of Management’s Laura Bloomberg conclude that strengthening public “deliberative capacity” helps communities address complex challenges in an inclusive way.

“Deliberative capacity” – that is, the ability for people of differing opinions to be curious, respectful and open in a shared exploration of effective approaches to public problems.

This conference has been designed:

  • to build a sense of collective efficacy and hopefulness,
  • to welcome all of your perspectives,
  • to spotlight new ideas and promising practices,
  • to draw out your wisdom and passion ….. – ultimately,
  • to contribute to the “deliberative capacity” so key to the quality of our shared public life.

At Blandin Foundation we believe that local leadership matters, and that communities do best when they name and claim their own future.

We are in the hope business – helping communities feel hopeful and leadership-full.

It is my personal hope that you will bring the important work you are doing together here back to your organizations, businesses and communities.

That you will continue to stoke the momentum building here today to name and claim a broadband future worthy of our best hopes for our children and their children’s children.

Again, thank you for being here this morning for this Broadband Builders Breakfast, and congratulations and thanks to each of you who are doing the actual work of building networks.

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