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What Will Gary Say About Kitsap?
The Stakeholder Imperative

On October 10, West Sound Technology Association (WSTA) will welcome an international icon, Gary Shapiro, to our shores.

Who?

You know…Gary Shapiro. The CEO of The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), a preeminent trade association which promotes growth in the $173 billion U.S. consumer technology industry through technology policy, events, research, promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. Its annual International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is the stuff of legend.

That’s not all.

He writes for Forbes and Huffington Post, and has appeared on CNN, C-SPan, MSNBC, PBS, and anywhere else they’re fortunate to have him.

 Is there more? You bet…

Voted among the top 100 most influential people in Washington, DC, pioneer of The Innovation Movement (a grassroots movement of over 200,000 members created to engage industry professionals, entrepreneurs and everyday people behind the idea that innovation is the key component for global leadership and economic growth), and a leader who has testified before Congress more than 20 times on technology and business policy.

And guess what?

His D.C. area company contacted WSTA and asked to fly here on his own dime to address our regional leadership about innovation and his New York Times bestseller “The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream”.

Do we care? Or are we too busy fighting over politics or various silos to ensure he gets what we offer?

I’ll tell you what I think. (Here she goes again!)

When attempting to grow existing businesses, showcase our strengths, or attract new prospects, we have to provide facts and stats about our demographics, real estate, and overall value proposition. However, there are draws or compelling reasons which state our case in quite visceral ways.

An international icon and a packed room of Kitsap, Seattle, and Eastside innovators is one of them.

Once Shapiro leaves here, he will come away with one of two basic impressions: either this region is hopping and rife with innovative vision – or it’s not. What he concludes depends heavily on how we as a community welcome him.

Tech savvy companies in particular are stoked by the energy of a packed room of stakeholders, ready to carve out a promsing future. Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microvision, Microsoft, and Boeing are some of the businesses our regional leaders should be approaching as a cohesive ambassadorial group to recruit their attendance, sponsorship, and/or participation in the Innovation Showcase which precedes the keynote dinner. These companies may not know much about Kitsap, but they do know the value of snagging Shapiro as a keynote. If we attract their interest to a blowout event, this region gets a second look as a place to do serious business.

I’ve spent the majority of my time in the Pacific Northwest (since 1996) on the other side of the water in meetings and pow wows, and that’s how they get it done. Several prominent technology associations (Technology Alliance and Washington Technology Industry Association, for instance) are regularly invited to participate in regional initiatives which aim to attract or sustain business. A group of leaders then reach out to major players to achieve an objective.

Not so much here with our regional tech association, but that’s another story for another time.

The point here is….WSTA is obviously in the best position to convey the message regarding its mission, but every leadership entity in this region should be able to articulate the value of innovation, the purpose of this game-changing summit and the true potential in Gary’s presence here.

This is about more than slapping up a few email notices or posts on Facebook and calling it good. Time for us to step it up a few notches, because opportunities like this aren’t something to be wasted.

Calling all stakeholders to think big, and engage now.

[UPDATE: A hearty thank you to the following supporters who have stepped up to make Western Washington Summit 2012 a success!]

Media Sponsors

  • The Kitsap Sun *
  • The Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal *

Event Sponsors ($1000)

  • City of Bremerton *

Business Sponsor ($500)

  • Kitsap County
  • Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau
  • Puget Sound Energy

Collaborating Sponsor (all in-kind promotion/outreach)

  • Kitsap EDA
  • Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce
  • Silverdale Chamber of Commerce
  • Bremerton Chamber of Commerce
  • Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce

*in-kind

Doña Keating is President and CEO of Professional Options, a prominent innovator in the policy and management consulting industry which provides solutions for businesses, organisations and governmental agencies. She is also a principal in K2 Strategic Solutions, a partnership between Professional Options and Keating Consulting Service which has a combined 50 year history of providing information technology, policy, and management consulting. Keating’s latest book, “How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Nonprofit Hell”, offers pithy observations and solutions borne of decades of service on non profit boards and committees, advising them, or facilitating executive retreats.

 
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