LIfT Strategic Doing Initiative and Community Workshop

Contact: Ruth Ellen Whitt
Executive Director
Leadership Texarkana
[email protected]

Texarkana, USA – January 3, 2020 –

A group of community partners are working through LIfT - the Leadership Initiative for Texarkana - to host a Community Workshop on January 16th, to be led by Strategic Doing faculty from Purdue’s Agile Strategy Lab. The workshop goal is to tap the potential of Strategic Doing for new outcomes which might add economic advantage to our community, and as such, to benefit all who live and work here. The workshop and associated activities of this LIfT Strategic Doing Initiative are being sponsored by the Texas Pioneer Foundation.

Specifically, the workshop will address a question foundational to our community’s economic future: “Imagine if Texarkana USA was a magnet for talent and entrepreneurs to the region... What would that be like? What could we do as leaders? What should we do? What will we do?”

The intent is to bring together community leaders who know the stakes, have the interest, and are willing to invest themselves, working together in DOING what we can to move us forward. The workshop will address our opportunities around Talent, Entrepreneurs, Community Narrative, and Downtown/place.

The workshop is an outgrowth of LIfT-based community conversations which have taken place over the past year, which included an October videoconference at TAMU-T which allowed twenty-two local leaders to meet with Strategic Doing faculty to learn about the process and to understand how it might benefit our community. Participating organizations with representation included the cities of Texarkana, AR and TX, the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, AR-TX REDI, Inc; TAMU-T, Texarkana College, University of AR-Texarkana, TexAmericas and Leadership Texarkana, which leads the LIfT initiative.

Strategic Doing is a process designed to bring together multiple partners for taking collective action around common challenge(s), though the partners are not hierarchically linked, nor able to prescribe actions for another. It emphasizes the strategic value of collaboration, open innovation, and network-based models in today’s global economy. In our non-hierarchical real world, Strategic Doing has been proven to produce new and significant outcomes where strategic planning has not.

Strategic Doing was developed out of work that Director Ed Morrison led in Oklahoma City and which is visible today in their downtown transformation, but which in the past twenty years has gone far beyond the opportunity of “place,” to proven success in ecosystem transformations of businesses and communities around the country and world–all of which recognize the interplay and importance to a community of talent, entrepreneurship, narrative and place. For more background, go to

The Community Workshop will include an estimated eighty participants. The day prior to the Community Workshop, the Strategic Doing faculty will be training twenty-five local leaders as the Leadership Team to be guides for the Community Workshop under the guidance of the visiting faculty. Strategic Doing faculty who will be participating includes: Ed Morrison, original developer of Strategic Doing and founder of the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab. and Elizabeth Nilsen, Senior Program Director of the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab.

The expectation of Workshop Participants is that they come to actively participate, to share their creative thinking, and with a willingness to bring “something” to the table... in the broadest sense. The question at Strategic Doing planning tables is: What resource(s) might you have at your disposal that you would be willing to bring to bear on whatever plans for moving forward - resources as diverse as knowledge, skills, access to networks, space, money, etc... With the process of Strategic Doing, NO ONE makes action lists for another person; but everyone is expected to participate. Each participant’s investment is what that individual determines it to be; it could take as little as fifteen minutes in a month or as much as an individual is willing to commit. It will take a village!

The Strategic Doing Initiative Core Planning Team includes: LIfT Chair of Leadership Texarkana Board, Fred Norton • Leadership Texarkana Executive Director, Ruth Ellen Whitt.• Rob Sitterley, AR-TX REDI CEO; Dr. Emily Cutrer, President TAMU-T • Joey Martin, Chair of Txk Chamber of Commerce 2020 • Jennifer Harland, Chair-Elect of Txk Chamber of Commerce 2021 • Lesley Ledwell, President of Ledwell & Sons/ TC Board, LT Board. AND Fred Markham, Executive Director of Texas Pioneer Foundation.


LIfT (the Leadership Initiative for Texarkana) is a program of LEADERSHIP TEXARKANA, an independent non-profit organization committed to engaging and equipping citizens throughout our community as leaders working together for community excellence, pride and progress. Leadership Texarkana provides a leadership voice of possibility and responsibility, developing citizens who are willing and able to make a difference of significance as community leaders. LIfT was launched in 2011 as a vehicle to challenge and engage the community at large to step up and lead the way in working together for community excellence. Since 2011, LIfT has been driven by a LIfT Community Advisory Team including leaders of key community partners in community excellence. For more about LIfT and Leadership Texarkana, visit


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