Heart & Soul Talks: Strengthen Your Community through Engagement

By Caitlyn Davison

Heart & Soul Talks | Thursday, January 26, 2017 – 3:00pm – 4:00pm Eastern

Deep community engagement gives local leaders the courage to take risks that lead to positive change. The Orton Family Foundation pioneered the community development method Community Heart & Soul® based on that premise. On this call, you’ll hear how three leaders went beyond a “check the box” approach to engagement, working with residents to create ambitious plans that have led to dramatic and lasting results in their towns.


Jim Bennett, city manager, Biddeford, Maine, and past ICMA president. Community engagement led the city to buy and tear down an incinerator in the downtown, spurring major revitalization. Jim has an impressive history of public service in Maine, beginning at the age of 21 as an elected municipal official. Over his 35 years of municipal service, the communities he has served have received a number of recognitions, including All-American City designation. He has been recognized by ICMA for several outstanding programs implemented under his direction as well as awarded the Manager of the Year by Maine Town and City Managers Association.

Mike Bestor, former city manager, Golden, Colorado, and ICMA member. Empowered by the input of more than 2,000 local residents, city staff revamped development review guidelines to ensure growth aligns with what residents want for their town’s future.

Kirsten Sackett, community development director, Ellensburg, Washington. Kirsten led a Community Heart & Soul project in Cortez, Colorado that got a diverse group of residents participating in local government and built bridges to underrepresented communities. She liked the results so much she’s doing the same thing in Ellensburg.

Presented in partnership with International City/County Management Association (ICMA).


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