By Dean Whittaker

The Poem, “If,” by Rudyard Kipling comes to mind as I reflect on the times. Here’s a section from it as a reminder and a link to the entire poem:

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:”

We certainly are living through exciting times. Much of the sentiment of those at IEDC Leadership Summit this week reflected the notion that “the sun will come up tomorrow.” A few of my ultra-conservative friends were elated, but many others ranged between concern and despair.

I had the opportunity to tour the Mayo Clinic during the IEDC Leadership Summit held in Jacksonville, Florida. Mayo accepts only 1.2% of the medical students that apply. Dr. Twak, one of the top neurosurgeons in the world, conducted our tour.

Simulators are used at Mayo to teach doctors and hospital personnel. A large touch screen table top displayed a full body scan. The display could be sliced and then rotated to see an interior view of the organs. In another simulation, we saw how CPR now uses compression only when we “saved” a manikins life. The tour was a fascinating glimpse into the future of medicine. Genomic medicine will provide gene therapies and personalized drugs based on our DNA.

Other highlights of the Leadership Summit:

A ‘connected place’ was a theme running throughout the conference, which is counter to our current national policy of isolationism. Regionalism was also a trend discussed. The power to convene is one of the most potent tools an economic development organization has.

We are reminded of the importance of economic development when we hear the stories of people finding work and what it means to them and their families

The speakers at the Work/Life Balance session pointed out the irony that our meeting was being held on Sunday afternoon!

Hats off to the folks in Jacksonville for hosting an outstanding conference with great speakers, useful content, and held in a pleasant downtown river venue. Thank you!