Alissa O’Connor, president & secretary of the Humboldt County Community Foundation
When I was asked to write a blog post to describe why I registered for the Rural Equity Leadership Series, my first thought was, “Why me?” From a small county of 10,000 people in rural northwest Iowa, what could I possibly lend to the conversation?! Then I asked myself, “Why not me?” Why can’t a small county of 10,000 people in rural northwest Iowa be a leader in rural equity? Why can’t we lead local conversations? I registered for the series to gain a better understanding of rural equity and to educate myself so I can be part of a larger conversation. What I learned from the first session is simple: regardless of our personal backgrounds, community demographics, or career pathways, we can ALL lead the conversation, we can ALL serve from a place of fostering rural equity, and most importantly — we can ALL be leaders in rural equity!
I believe we all want meaningful human interaction, valuable connections and true friendship and understanding, and ensuring rural equity is the vehicle for that. I want to be part of a greater vision for growth and sustainability in my community, and that means understanding rural equity, identifying resources, and implementing programs and initiatives aimed at gathering our community and igniting conversation! Together we can do this important work, but it starts with asking ourselves, “Why not me?!”=