Like communities across the country, Greater Sacramento experienced unprecedented upheavals and accelerated trends brought on by COVID-19. Unemployment hit its highest level in nearly a century just as the capital region began to see economic development efforts pay off. Local leaders realized that traditional business development and marketing tactics would not be enough to ensure the community’s economic survival and eventual recovery. Rather, catalytic action would be necessary to retain and recruit top talent, to respond to the changing nature of work and commercial spaces, and to address systemic inequities endangering shared prosperity.
With these challenges in mind, the Greater Sacramento Economic Council (GSEC) engaged TIP to facilitate the discussion and review of the organization’s draft action plan. Working with staff, TIP consultants designed a survey soliciting input from the 80-member board. TIP also helped design and facilitate three 90-minute sessions with the board to present survey findings and discuss the draft plan. The feedback helped articulate two key additions to the plan: the clarification of GSEC’s role influencing and engaging with state policy and the need to reimagine marketing efforts to retain Bay Area remote workers and recruit their employers. The engagement concluded with TIP facilitating the review and approval of edits made to the draft plan. During the board review, TIP also presented on trends impacting economic development organizations (including the COVID pandemic, a global economic downturn, and an increased commitment to racial equity and inclusion) that would likely impact GSEC’s work moving forward.