Organizing live CivicCon events has been difficult the past year as the pandemic and lockdowns dragged on longer than expected. But again, we, as a community, have proven that nothing could stop us from learning and improving our neighborhood. CivicCon has the Pensacola community to be thankful for this; the support and cooperation of engaged citizens have been a great help in making online events a success despite the odds. CivicCon has managed to invite and listen to a roster of thought leaders through Zoom conferences, schedule calls, and group chats…and their audience continues to grow.
For the year 2021, CivicCon will be returning to in-person gatherings and engagement events. This June, two live community conversations will be held outdoors at the Blue Wahoos Stadium. The venue can accommodate several thousand people, which means following social distancing protocols wouldn’t be a problem.
Event 1 – Speaker: Vincent Brown / Date: June 14
The first in-person event will take place on Monday, June 14 from 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM CDT. Save the date to make sure you’ll hear from Vincent Brown, who’s going to talk lead a discussion on workplace diversity. Brown is the founder of V. Randolph Brown Consulting, a provider of training, advisory, education, and strategic consulting services on a wide range of topics (e.g., leadership, marketing, non-profit). His notable clients include Procter & Gamble, NBA, and the NCAA.
Brown is co-author of “Intrinsic Inclusion: Rebooting Your Biased Brain.” The book explores how we might rewire our brains to disrupt implicit unconscious biases, change ‘default’ mindsets, and develop intrinsically inclusive behaviors.
Brown also co-authored “The Phoenix Principles: Leveraging Inclusion To Transform Your Company.” This best-selling book is credited with helping shape the thinking in modern corporate culture about diversity and inclusion. The book suggests a diverse talent pool is a competitive weapon for companies. But the culture of inclusion needed to leverage this business advantage is often mistakenly viewed as a project, rather than a cultural transformation that can result in increased market share, increased profits and more innovation for products and services.
Event 2 – Speakers: Beth Silverman and Philip Payne / Date: June 28
Would you like to learn about private investing for a cause? Listen to Philip Payne and Beth Silverman on the 28th of June from 6 to 7:30 p.m CDT. They’re the founders of The Lotus Campaign, a non-profit organization that aims to solve homelessness through private investments. Their housing for the homeless blueprint could be applied to almost any community in the U.S.
The Lotus Campaign is in its third year of helping homeless families and individuals get off the street and into a home. They believe important missing pieces to solving homelessness has been the lack of private investment as well as gaining the trust and cooperation of landlords.
For nearly 30 years, Payne’s background has been in producing and maintaining multifamily rental housing that are affordable to the workforce. He has served in various roles at a number of real estate companies including being Chairman of a public company, CFO of both a private and public company, and a Board Member and Audit Committee Chairman for two public companies.
Payne said he and others with the Urban Land Institute recognized that the country’s strategies to eliminate or even reduce homelessness were not effective. That was the birth of the idea of the Lotus Campaign and several people involved with the Urban Land Institute are also on the board of The Lotus Campaign.
Payne has extensive experience and expertise in the areas of development, acquisition, rehabilitation, management, operation, financing, tax and legal issues of multifamily housing.
He is currently the chairman of Ginkgo REIT, which provides workforce housing in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. He also is a Trustee of the Urban Land Institute. He holds both a BS in Psychology and a JD from the College of William & Mary. Silverman’s 15-year career includes leadership roles in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors focused on building livable, equitable and resilient communities.
Since 2018, Beth has served as the founding Executive Director of the Lotus Campaign. Under Beth’s leadership, the Lotus Campaign developed 14 partnerships with nonprofits, landlords and funders to facilitate housing for over 280 individuals at an annual cost of less than $800 per person and received an honorable mention in Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas competition. Beth also participated in the 2020 class of SEED20 nonprofit entrepreneurs.
Prior to leading the Lotus Campaign, Beth served as Vice President of Advisory Services at the Urban Land Institute, designing technical assistance programs that addressed a range of challenges from equitable urban redevelopment to planning for resilience.
From 2005 to 2013, Beth oversaw and managed large-scale real estate, policy, and economic development initiatives throughout the New York City region. While at the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Beth managed a $110 million portfolio of 10 projects that created mixed-income housing, including over 300 units of affordable housing, five new cultural assets, and 16,000 square feet of high-quality public space.
Beth holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland and a graduate degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. She is an active member of the Urban Land Institute.
CivicCon hopes that you can join our live events and discussions on bettering our community at Blue Whahood stadium. Those who choose not to attend in person are also free to watch the live stream on the Facebook page and as well as the Pensacola News Journal’s website. These two events won’t be available on the Zoom virtual platform, however.
It important to continue to advocate for community development even during these trying times. Remember, positive change and a better quality of life start with raising civic IQ and participating in community conversations.