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Thought Leadership Views From Peachtree

Goose Bumps, and a Glimpse into Our Future: Why You Need to Attend the 2020 Midtown Alliance Annual Meeting

Midtown Alliance

By Brian Carr, Director of Marketing and Communications, Midtown Alliance

Since the earliest days of organizing neighborhood leadership in Midtown Atlanta, one simple truth has endured: when you bring committed actors from all corners of the district together in a room, get them on the same page, and stretch their thinking, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish. 

That is why you need to attend the 2020 Midtown Alliance Annual Meeting on February 25th at the Fox Theatre.

Of course, my job is to sell tickets. But if a stronger platform exists to galvanize Midtown business and civic leaders, policymakers, residents, workers and urban enthusiasts about the future of our City, my colleagues and I haven’t found it yet.

In the late-1970s, Midtown portrait studio owner Louis Foster convened regular meetings at Mary Mac’s Tea Room with dozens of other small business leaders. Topmost on their agenda? Devising a plan to clean up what was then a crumbling, disinvested place. They walked out of those meetings and got it done. 

In the 80s and 90s, the headcount grew, and the rooms got bigger. So did the work. Hundreds of business and civic leaders convened for the annual meeting at venues including the Atlanta Cabana Hotel on Peachtree Street. The task at hand? Strengthen ties with City officials and formalize efforts that would attract larger companies to Midtown. Mission accomplished.

(L-R) Past Midtown Business Association President and Current Midtown Alliance Board Member Steve Nygren, Former Planning Commissioner Leon Eplan and Past Midtown Business Association President Louisa MacIntosh at a meeting

The 2000s ushered in a new dynamic, and a longer guest list, with the formation of the Midtown Improvement District and large-scale projects executed by Midtown Alliance. This impassioned 2003 annual meeting speech on citybuilding – delivered by the late Shelton g Stanfill, past Midtown Alliance Board Chair and former President & CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center – gives me goose bumps every time I listen to it.

That’s become our goal every year with this steadily-growing event. To feel goose bumps. To get more people excited about recent shared wins, look ahead to what’s next, and motivate everyone to find their role in creating an exceptional place. Because there is more work to be done.

Spend 90 minutes with us, and you’ll learn a lot. Want to know the latest about Midtown Alliance’s and the City’s work on the ground to improve the local transportation network and create more open space in the district? Come and hear substantive updates from our leadership and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Want to get insight from a noted author and researcher about the future of cities as the world’s leading problem solvers? Come and hear what Bruce Katz has to say. 

Through his work at the Brookings Institution, Katz came to know Midtown Atlanta in the context of the thriving innovation ecosystem that continues to draw international interest. He has written extensively about Atlanta over the years and co-authored “The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism.” The talk he is putting together will look at how other cities – from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh, Hamburg to Copenhagen – have invented bold new ideas to improve quality of life, strengthen inclusivity and prioritize sustainability … and why it is critical for Atlanta to do the same.

After hearing this message and feeling that thrilling sensation about what’s possible for our City, imagine what we can all accomplish together. 

Get your tickets here. As other event promoters famously declare, “We’ll sell you the whole seat … but you’ll only need the edge.”

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