This past Saturday, Senator Mark Warner hosted a gathering of leaders from across the state and I was fortunate to attend. The subtitle for the event was Shaping the Future for Virginia. The Senator and former Republican Congressman Tom Davis spoke of working together for the benefit of all. The need to invest in our infrastructure and to get a handle on the national debt.
Former Governor Baliles spoke of leading through periods of change.
U of R President Ed Ayers, spoke of the value of a liberal arts education and what an extraordinary resource we have in the University of Richmond.
Economist Dr. Chris Chmura and education consultant and Time columnist Andy Rotherman shared some daunting statistics about Virginia’s education system and its impact upon our economy past, present and future.
The skills of a workforce are the magnet for industry. What defines a high skilled workforce? Workforce planning on the part of government and educators and life long learning on the part of citizens.
Virginia Business publisher, Bernie Niemieir and AOL founder and serial entrepreneur, Steve Case took the stage for an informal “fireside chat” about leadership and innovation.
Mr. Case reiterated the need for attracting and retaining capable people from all over the world. The US has
been winning the global battle for talent. Entrepreneurs have created 40 million new jobs over the last three decades and 40% of those job creating entrepreneurs have been 1st or 2nd generation immigrants. He described current immigration policies as analogous of recruiting Chinese nationals to attend the US Naval Academy and upon graduation deporting them to join the Chinese navy. Currently, we train scientists and business people and then we send them abroad to compete against us.
Barry DuVal, President of the Virginia Chamber spoke of the Council on Virginia’s Future as an opportunity for those present to work together to build a blueprint for Virginia’s Vision for 2025.
We all walked away with renewed belief in the need for post secondary education, whether attained through the community colleges, four year institutions or vocational training.President Ayers closed out the day reminding us that “without our history we are without direction.”
With the high cost of education today, many wrestled with the question of training for the present and education for the future. And while there may be pride in Virginia being 7th in the country in terms of citizens with Bachelors, no one is happy about our low percentage of high school graduates. And while we know this a national problem; this is not one of those cases where misery finding comfort in company.
I took a lot more notes and Dr. Chmura and Mr. Rotherman were both kind enough to distribute their PowerPoint decks. I’m sure I’ll write more about what I learned there, but for now let me leave you with Senator Warner’s belief that we are the future of Virginia and the world.
You often hear us at Catch Your Limit quoting Peter Drucker and I will do so again, “The only way to predict the future is to create it.” So go forth, lead, do something. Do something to make this world a better place.
><(("> Gayle Turner
Gayle is a ><(("> Team Member at Catch Your Limit, a consulting firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. To learn more, visit www.catchyourlimit.com.