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Saba Long

Core Reaction event aims to help Atlanta thrive, play and grow

By Saba Long

On the heels of (co)lab, a thought leadership conference, many conversations have taken place across the city and the metro region on how to move Atlanta forward.  While the dialogue is always stimulating in these types of settings, people move on to the day-to-day minutiae of their respective lives.

Over two days last week, a new project was birthed in the hopes of moving from ideation to collaboration and implementation of projects that can truly move the city forward via a theme of thrive, play and grow.

Core Reaction, a two-day event organized by Scott Henderson of Hypepotamus, Rhonda Lowry of Turner Broadcasting, and about 20 volunteers from across the metro region, was launched representing a variety of industries and communities, including technologists, nonprofit leaders, venture capitalists, civic leaders and corporate innovators.

Core Reaction logo

Core Reaction logo

Kicking off day one were subject matter experts representing organizations such as Boxcar Grocery, the Atlanta BeltLine and Serenbe. As the day progressed, groups of 10 or so participated in a number of activities that seemed elementary in nature but provided for a freethinking, creative environment that aided in the collaborative process.

One such activity was a “growth garden” presentation and faux press conference in which clusters of individuals constructed and presented their respective ecosystem of opportunities for Atlanta to thrive – built out of construction paper and other craft materials.

The second and final day of Core Reaction focused on taking the ideas discussed on the first day and putting pen to paper. It was akin to sitting in an Atlanta Regional Commission briefing but with people not typically engaged in the bureaucratic process.

The participants generally wanted the same things we hear our city and regional leaders discuss – an improved K-12 education system, a robust and comprehensive transportation network, regionalism and how to bring our diverse neighborhoods together thereby strengthening the fabric of the city.

Ultimately, 13 teams formed to tackle a variety of ideas including building a mobile application for the Atlanta BeltLine, creating a broader iteration of the new Choose ATL brand, forming a hybrid not-for-profit dedicated to teaching at-risk individuals how to code.

Over the next five months, these committed individuals will build upon the collaboration of the two-day experience and bring their ideas to reality.  One group in particular decided to tackle the need to hit the refresh button on downtown Atlanta, particularly around Underground and the need for a vibrant, diverse residential community. They will likely partner with the City of Atlanta’s existing Downtown Development Technical Advisory Group as appropriate.

As someone who lives intown and works for the City, it was quite refreshing to see the enthusiasm of these Atlanta champions. If we collectively implement just a portion of the ideas, it will make for a more competitive, robust city.

Core Reaction has the potential to be a serious game changer by bringing doers together to create high-energy, high-capacity opportunities for Atlanta.


Saba Long

Saba Long is a communications and political professional who lives in downtown Atlanta. She serves as the senior council aide and communications liaison for Post 2 At-Large Atlanta City Councilman Aaron Watson. Most recently, Saba was the press secretary for MAVEN and Untie Atlanta -- the Metro Chamber’s education and advocacy campaigns in supportive of the Atlanta Regional Transportation Referendum. She has consulted with H.E.G. an analytics and evaluation firm where she lent strategic marketing and social media expertise to numerous political campaigns, including that of Fulton County Chairman John Eaves and the 2010 Clayton County transportation referendum. In 2009, Saba served as the deputy campaign manager for the campaign of City Council President Ceasar Mitchell. Previously, Saba was a Junior Account Executive at iFusion Marketing, where she lent fractional marketing strategy to various ATDC technology startups operating out of the Georgia Tech incubator, ATDC. For the past two years, Saba has presented on online marketing and politics to the incoming fellows of the Atlanta chapter of the New Leaders Council.


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