Voicing a Vision

Leadership Everyone initiative strives to address community needs

Having conducted 73 visioning meetings attended by 2,004 residents of Evansville and surrounding communities as part of its Regional VOICE initiative, Leadership Everyone now wants even more people to speak up.

Data collected during the dozens of meetings are available online, and Leadership Everyone unveiled it publicly to a few hundred people on Sept. 14 at Old National Events Plaza.

Charts reflect the region’s passions — issues like community, opportunity, and education. They also delve into elements residents want to carry forward (love, innovation, and community), and what they say should be left behind (apathy, discrimination, and harm).

Officials’ goal for Regional VOICE is to establish a better, shared future for people who reside in Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh, and Warrick counties in Indiana and Henderson County in Kentucky. Participants in the decade-long series of meetings shared ideas on how to achieve that, and using the data, organizers say they will focus on six umbrella topics as the process moves forward:

  • Human Library (defined by Leadership Everyone CEO Lynn Miller Pease as “when people get together and teach each other things”)
  • Connected Region
  • Experiences
  • Supported Schools
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
  • Sustainable Region

“We selected the six areas based on the visions shared with us by the diverse people of our region and then we invited them to help make the dreams a reality,” Miller Pease says.

A few other topics came up often during the series of meetings, with economic development being one example. But Miller Pease says organizers are choosing to focus on areas with potential for the most impact, without overlapping with the missions of other groups.

In the case of local schools, she noted the Regional VOICE goal is to offer support.

Those attending Thursday’s data reveal celebration were encouraged to sign up under a category of interest. Miller Pease says there is still plenty of time to get involved in the process — the next step is a Big Action Meeting 5-6:30 p.m. Nov. 16 in Ivy Tech Community College’s CenterPoint Auditorium at 3501 N. First Ave.

During that meeting, residents interested in the six topics will split up to discuss ideas surrounding them, and before the evening ends, the whole group will reconvene and hear a report from each of the six groups.

Miller Pease says a Big Action Meetings will be held every two months in a different county.

The earliest visioning sessions began in 2012, with the regional focus taking shape in 2020 before being interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Miller Pease says the meetings reflected the region’s diversity in age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income levels, county of residence, and more — the data dashboard breaks down participants’ demographics.

Regional VOICE is always seeking residents who have not attended previous events, Miller Pease says. A calendar of upcoming meetings is online.

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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