Annual Neighborhood Summit to focus on communication, collaboration


On March 10, community leaders, volunteers, city officials, nonprofits and residents will descend on the Cintas Center at Xavier University for Invest in Neighborhoods’ 16th annual Neighborhood Summit.

The Summit is a free, day-long series of seminars and workshops aimed at helping citizens work together effectively to improve the quality of life in their neighborhood. Each year, organizers choose a theme and organize the speakers and sessions around that theme — this year’s theme is communication.

“We thought that talking about communication was going to continue to be a timely issue,” says Elizabeth Bartley, who is in her fourth year as Summit chairperson. “The Summit will look at effective communication, and not just communication strategies but understand what we’re trying to communicate and what goals we’re trying to convey.”

In 2017, the Summit’s theme was equity and the equitable issues going on in Cincinnati. With each incarnation of the Summit, it builds on the theme of the year before, so there will be breakout sessions this year that deal with equity, collaboration erases boundaries (2015) and placemaking (2016).

This year, the Summit will feature over 20 breakout sessions hosted by recognizable names in Cincinnati, including City Manager Harry Black, Zach Huhn from Smart Cincy, the Cincy Stories team and leaders from neighborhood development corporations. The day is designed for attendees to pick and choose which events to attend, and to come and go as schedules allow. To see the full lineup, click here.

New this year is a riff on speed dating. There was an election in November, and with that, both new and familiar faces in new roles were elected to City Council. Attendees will be able to spend 40 minutes after lunch interacting with the nine members of City Council in a fast-paced meet-and-greet.

“This was done in Westwood during the campaign and was very successful,” Bartley explains. “It’s a great way to introduce a new administration and allow residents to ask questions.”

Direct outcomes from the Summit are hard to measure, but Bartley says that after last year’s event, organizers took the information gathered from the community engagement workshop and fed it into an ongoing project (the Equity Project) from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the United Way and Interact for Health.

Last year’s event was attended by over 600 people, and Bartley says attendance is on track to meet that again this year. Online registration is closed, but you can register at the door day-of. The Summit will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 10.

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Read more articles by Caitlin Koenig.

Caitlin Koenig is a Cincinnati transplant and 2012 grad of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She's the department editor for Soapbox Media and currently lives in Northside with her husband, Andrew, and their three furry children. Follow Caitlin on Twitter at @caite_13.