By: Lucia Forero

At the LEDC, on days when we need a break, we like to play GameMonk on Slack. GameMonk is a trivia game that gives you 60 seconds to type as many answers as you can to the prompt you are given. It is always fun to see which team member has the random knowledge necessary to answer the questions. After a few sessions of the game, the winner gets bragging rights, and the whole team gets a little extra knowledge to add to their brains.  

Although this is a silly example, it still exemplifies the culture that we have on our team. We like to take any opportunity we get to learn new things, even if they seem random. Are you this way too? Then you are at the right place! We know economic development is not the most exciting topic out there; however, we believe that learning about it, even if it just a little bit, can be a really good idea! Take it from us (Ashley, Laura G, and Lucia), three people that did not know much about ED before we started working at the LEDC.  

Here are five reasons why getting familiar with topics related to ED is a great idea: 

  1. Big picture thinking: Just like building Legos, seeing how things comes together is part of the fun. Developing a city is a long-term process. What we are experiencing now are results of plans and projects that have been in the works for decades, and the outcomes of decisions made today will likely be seen many years from now. Understanding the synergy of everything that happens in a city, and looking at how it all comes together is a helpful practice that will help you realize that you are part of something great.    
  1. Learning about different disciplines will help you be a well-rounded professional: The company you work for is a player in the local economy. Maybe it is part of one of Lakeland’s targeted industries. Or you maybe you work for one of Lakeland’s major employers, or one of the city’s fastest growing companies. Not only because of your job, but also because of how you spend your dollars, you are part of the economic system. Third spaces like restaurants and entertainment venues make up Lakeland’s quality of life, which is a component of economic development. Understanding how your company fits into the local, regional, and national economy might help you find a deeper passion in what you do.  
  1. An informed citizen is an involved citizen: Being in the know about economic development is a great tool to be an active citizen. Do you follow local government? Do you tune in to city commission meetings? Are there topics you are passionate about advocating for? Understanding the economic landscape of the city will only help you in your pursuit to be an engaged citizen. Also, at the risk of sounding cliché, millennials are the future, so we need to do our part in preparing to take part in shaping a city that we all love and feel included in.   
  1. Make your voice be heard in community conversations: In the past few years, social media has showed us that important conversations don’t happen behind closed doors anymore. We are now able to engage with others in many different ways and formats so, in order to have productive conversations, we need to do our due diligence to inform ourselves on the issues at hand. On this page, we hope to create a forum where important conversations can happen. We don’t always have to agree, but we can still be willing to learn from each other.  
  1. Be passionate about your city: Lakeland is special, and economic development information just helps prove it. Getting to learn about why companies choose to come to our city, and being familiar with the potential that regional and national players see in Lakeland develops (at least in us) a sense of pride.   

So, there you have it. If learning new things is something you are passionate about, keep following us. We’ll promise you will learn a few useful things that will help you achieve all (or at least some) of the things mentioned above. And if not, you will for sure have a few more random pieces of knowledge for your trivia games 😏