Leadership Delegation

InterCity Leadership Visit (ICLV)

The purpose of a InterCity Leadership Visit (ICLV) is to bring together community leaders to advance the collective good of our community. Every couple of years, Greater Mankato Growth gathers a cross section of top leaders in government, business, and nonprofit sectors of our region to address relevant topics currently impacting the Greater Mankato region. This delegation then travels to another US community that aligns with the key priorities and goals from our Envision 2020 plan, that will offer us some good examples of best practices and successes that we can implement in Greater Mankato.

Greater Mankato Leadership Delegation, consists of bringing a group of Greater Mankato’s leaders together or conducting a trip to another U.S. city to study specific, identified issues. Participants study applicable best practices first-hand, as well as challenges and opportunities to overcome. Greater Mankato’s leadership delegation is the first such leadership project undertaken by a tier-two community in Minnesota.

The destination is carefully selected based on identified goals and issues to be studied. Our local community needs are taken into account along with similar community characteristics such as population, higher education institutions, industry, agricultural influences, medical facilities, proximity to a metropolitan area.

The Leadership Delegation is an invitation-only event. Delegates are invited who represent various communities and sectors – business, nonprofit, government, religious, etc. Delegates develop and strengthen relationships throughout the trip. This also contributes to stronger working relationships and community ties.

1. Explore challenges and opportunities
2. Continue to strengthen connections
3. Rejuvenate and refuel

Fayetteville, Arkansas was selected as the destination for the 2018 Greater Mankato Leadership Delegation Intercity Leadership Visit (ICLV). A delegation of business and community leaders traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas October 10-12, 2018 to study innovative ideas and best practices that may be adapted to the Greater Mankato region. Of particular interest was the way Fayetteville is addressing top priorities the Greater Mankato region identified by surveying key community leaders, past delegates and our Young Professionals this spring. The top priorities identified are:

  • Affordable housing
  • Greater Mankato as a destination for visiting, working and living
  • Talent Development/Attraction/Retention
  • Regional recreation

Trip Summary

A delegation of business and community leaders traveled to Columbia, Missouri to study innovative ideas and best practices that may be adapted to the Greater Mankato region. Key focus areas and opportunities for the trip were identified as part of the Envision 2020 Phase 2 initiative and included: economic development strategies and partnerships; talent development, attraction and retention initiatives; health care; downtown development and cultural affairs; agriculture and education and sports facilities.


Delegate Takeaway

Delegate Quote

Photos from the Trip

A Greater Mankato Delegation was gathered to represent a diverse mix of community stakeholders from Mankato, North Mankato, Eagle Lake and area cities across Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties – bringing a regional marketplace perspective to this initiative. One of the goals of this Inter-City Leadership Visit is to strengthen the bonds between diverse leaders who must excel in collaboration for the advancement of the region. A three-day agenda was organized to help Greater Mankato delegates learn some best practice ideas that will help us advance select Envision 2020 goals. Particular emphasis was placed on three areas ready for mobilization: Economic Development, Talent Development, and Collaborative Partnerships between Government or Non-Profits. Some other topics were woven through the agenda, including: transportation, city center renaissance, community facilities, sustainability and livability aspects.

The theme for the 2009 leadership retreat was “Strong Leadership During Challenging Times.” The sessions revolved around finding opportunities throughout our challenging times and what that means to the various sectors within our community.

Part of the focus was understanding the priorities and updates essential to Envision2020, which became the new community vision and strategic planning process to follow ACT 2000, which began in the mid 1980s. Mankato and North Mankato were nationally recognized for ACT 2000, their long-range planning process.

Envision 2020 stakeholders have identified six major topics that are guiding the strategic planning process. In addition to redevelopment and revitalization of the community’s city center and riverfront — the top issue identified by the 2005 ICLV – the main focal issues were taken from the Envision 2020 mission.

The participants were delegates of the InterCity Leadership Visits to Bellingham, WA and Fort Collins, CO. The delegation was a diverse mix of community stakeholders from Mankato-North Mankato and Blue Earth County, Nicollet County, St. Peter, Le Sueur and Winnebago — bringing a regional marketplace perspective to this initiative. The retreat further strengthened the bonds between diverse leaders who need to excel in working together for the region.

The two-day agenda was guided by the six Key Performance Areas (KPAs) identified by Envision 2020 stakeholders. KPA representatives reported on their progress and successes and which goals are next in the pipeline. Particular emphasis was placed on three areas ready for mobilization: City Center Renaissance, Community Facilities, and Early Childhood Learning.

Day two focused on talent development. Experts from Philadelphia PA and Oklahoma City, OK shared their successful strategies for talent development through maximizing opportunities during the “student life cycle”:

Attract: Increase and strengthen the talent pool enrolling and graduating from the region’s colleges and universities.
Engage: Increase the quality and number of connections each student has with the region.
Retain: Make internships a core element of the college experience.
To conclude the event, a ‘Call to Action” list was compiled, and delegates were asked for commitments to assist where immediate action could be taken.

Greater Mankato Economic Development Corporation assembled a delegation of 75 key leaders for its second Inter-City Leadership Visit. The group completed an intensive three-day agenda that encompassed interaction with officials from Fort Collins and Larimer County government, industry, economic development, health care, higher education, arts and more.

The regional delegation was a diverse mix of stakeholders that included CEOs, presidents of area colleges and universities, mayors, city and county administrators, elected officials, nonprofit executives, heads of community organizations and foundations, and religious leadership. The delegation included representation from Mankato, St. Peter, Le Sueur, Winnebago, Blue Earth County and Nicollet County, bringing a regional marketplace perspective to the initiative.

The main focus points:

Build social capital by pulling together as a community of leaders for concerted action.
Encourage community business leaders to recognize that they must take a more proactive approach to community growth and development and not abdicate their responsibility in such matters.
Explore our strengths and weaknesses and identify tactics to align assets.
Facilitate a means to better understand our role and responsibilities as a regional center.
Rekindle the entrepreneurial capacity within the community.
The delegates found that Fort Collins faces similar challenges in economic development, managing growth, downtown and riverfront revitalization, health care, regional transportation infrastructure, and embracing diversity.

The group also gained insights on Fort Collins successes, such as use of alternative energy, university-business collaboration, entrepreneurship, intergovernmental relations, and the economic impact of a thriving arts community.

The feedback and knowledge gained will be meshed back into Envision 2020, as that group’s implementation committee proceeds to prioritize goals and oversee the ongoing execution of the action plans.

Said one delegate, “I feel that over time trips like this with the caliber of people in attendance will pay large dividends for Greater Mankato.”

In 2005, Greater Mankato Economic Development Corporation (GMEDC) introduced an exciting initiative – the InterCity Leadership Visit (ICLV). ICLVs have been undertaken by major cities around the country. GMEDC’s organization of the ICLV is innovative for a “tier-two” community and a first in Minnesota, except for Minneapolis/St. Paul, who initiated annual ICLVs in 2002. Invited participants studied ideas, programs, initiatives, and best practices that could adapted to the Mankato and North Mankato region.

For the 2005 trip, GMEDC assembled a diverse delegation of community stakeholders. More than 50 percent of the participants represented the private and corporate sectors, while the balance of the delegation was composed of leaders from the nonprofit, education, utility, and government sectors. Public representation included individuals from the communities of Mankato and North Mankato, Blue Earth, and St. Peter, as well as the counties of Blue Earth and Nicollet.

“The outstanding response to the ICLV demonstrates that area leaders are ready to take a proactive approach to economic and community development” said GMEDC’s board chair, Tom Riley. “This initiative will serve to align our regional assets and leverage southern Minnesota’s competitive advantage.”

To encourage representation from all sectors, GMEDC’s planning team established a scholarship program to support the initiative. Through the generosity of the corporate participants, eligible delegates representing nonprofit organizations and education received financial support to enable their participation.

Bellingham, Washington was chosen in part for its key similarities to Greater Mankato. Issues studied included health care, technology, relationships between business and education, entrepreneurship, diversity, and regional partnerships and economic development strategies.

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