About the Conversation
What is this, and why is it happening?
When it comes to community, what matters to you?
There’s something about Columbia that brought us here. Perhaps it was driven by a job opportunity or a dream home. Maybe you were looking for a great place to raise your kids or somewhere where arts and entertainment were easily accessible. You may have fallen in love with the open space here or felt a sense of comradery in your neighborhood that was too good to pass up. It could have been the connections to rich traditions or a progressive reputation. Safety, amenities, pools, restaurants (we could go on)… Whatever it is, we all ended up here for a reason. We each have a unique set of values, and Columbia matched up with some (or all) of them in one way or another.
The Columbia Conversation is all about tapping into those core values, understanding where our priorities lie and exchanging ideas on where to go next. That might mean expounding on your biggest hopes and dreams for Columbia’s future or simply sharing your favorite coffee shop. All insight is valuable. It helps us all grasp what makes this city so great and, just as important, how we need to evolve.
Columbia Association (CA) is leading this process to better understand what matters to the people who live, work and play here. Why? Because as a leader in this community, we have the obligation to understand these values. That knowledge then helps us make educated decisions on where we put our resources.
Consider this first phase of the conversation a pulse check on what’s important to our community. You may see a shift in the months to come that will help us define our vision for Columbia and the priorities that we collectively share.
Expect this Conversation to be ...
Along the way, we will share what we’re learning. Those findings may point out some differences in the way we see our community or they may reveal a clear path we want to take together.
This isn’t your grandmother’s dinner talk (unless you want to chat about our community over some food in the evening… in which case, it may well be just that). We will be prompting a wide range of responses on a wide range of topics.
The only way we get the full picture of our community is to hear from people of all backgrounds and experiences. Your insight is valuable, and anyone involved in this process should be prepared to share honestly, listen intentionally and show respect.
We will make room for everyone's input and everyone's position. We will consider context, and will discuss and debate ideas, and not the people behind them. We expect these things of each other at all times.
Our conversation must be engaging and fascinating. We cannot and will not let it devolve into simple surveys and focus groups. We will strive to reduce the friction associated with getting involved at every stage of the process.
We will strive to create a consistent two-way exchange of comments, ideas, questions and input. That includes in-person and virtual opportunities to interact with the process and get your hands dirty when it comes to crafting a vision for our community.
Who Is Behind the Conversation?
Columbia Association is initiating this conversation, but welcomes all stakeholders to participate in as many ways as possible.
Day to day management of this community engagement initiative is the responsibility of Tim Pinel, who leads the Communications and Marketing Department at Columbia Association, and under the strategic direction of Lakey Boyd, President and CEO.