The ROLE Summit was held on October 3rd from 7:45 am to 2:30 pm at the Gulfcoast Events and Conference Center. At the event, participants brainstormed ideas focused on positively affecting our local economy. By the end of the ROLE Summit, participants voted on the top action ideas to enact.

Participants worked in small groups pre-assigned to have a diversity of age, gender, occupational sector and viewpoint.  Each small group spent the day narrowing ideas down from dozens brainstormed in the morning to a single idea, presented by a group member during the closing plenary session. 

There were four possible topics for discussion: Job Creation, Business Support, Government Collaboration and Business Climate.  Each group was able to discuss two of the four topics.  This meant participants gave feedback on more than one topic, but it also meant groups did not work with the same ideas the entire day. 

At the end of the day, a representative from each of the small groups presented an idea for action and participants used instant voting technology to demonstrate their level of support for that idea.  The action plans that received the highest percentage of support became the “Top Ideas.”

A Summary Report of the ideas produced can be found on the "Reports" section of this page.  


ROLE Summit January 14th Meeting Report - Released January 27th, 2009

ROLE Summit Summary Report - Released December 18th, 2008


What was it?
The ROLE Summit was a gathering of leaders from all corners of the community to reach agreement on a set of actions to help jumpstart our local economy. 

What was the purpose?  Why have this?
Rather than just sit by, watching and worrying about the economic fate of our community, the Summit offered everyone a chance to get directly involved in shaping our economy’s rebound.  This economic downturn is an opportunity to grow the emerging local industries that are not dependent on construction and relocation.  In addition, as the ripples of economic slowdown fan out across the country, this Summit encouraged us not to wait for action or legislation from the national level. 

What were the goals?
What can we do together that would make a difference to our local economy?  No one knows it better than we do.  No one can influence more effectively than we can.  The ROLE Summit brought people together, informed them about the issues and prioritized potential actions.

Who was invited to attend?
The people involved in the Summit were invited from a diverse cross section of Sarasota County.  Elected officials, small business owners, neighborhood leaders, educators, people who work in nonprofit organizations and residents discussed issues that are critical to our local economy and worked together to determine the best course of action for our immediate economic future.

What issues did attendees discuss?
Participants had the chance to discuss two of the four below topics:

  • Job Creation: A thriving community must include expanding job opportunities for its citizens. In this group, participants will develop ideas to create jobs for Sarasota County residents by encouraging local businesses to flourish, new businesses to emerge and companies to relocate. 
  • Business Support: Businesses play a vital role in the health and prosperity of a community. In this group, participants will recommend innovative resources that support entrepreneurial spirit, the attraction of new enterprises and the expansion of local businesses that are compatible with the assets of the community.
  • Government/Community Collaboration: This group will identify opportunities for partnerships and cooperation among Sarasota County's governmental entities, businesses and citizens that will lead to a shared vision of prosperity and cooperation.
  • Business Climate: Sarasota County has a beautiful climate, great weather and 365 snow-free days.  But what about the business climate?  In this group, participants will explore the opportunities and challenges of operating a business in Sarasota County and identify ways to improve businesses' chances for success.

Who was involved in planning the ROLE Summit?
In addition to being a collaborative event that gets people working together across traditional division, the planning team for the Summit also “crosses boundaries.”  Involved in planning are: AM Engineering, City of North Port, City of Sarasota, Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau and Sarasota County Government.


SCgovFYI segment on the ROLE Summit

10.10.08 Sarasota Herald-Tribune Column

10.3.08 ABC 7 Article

10.3.08 Press Release

8.25.08 Press Release

7.16.08 Press Release


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