My first thought when I hear the word grit is Jay Jackson, a football coach that screamed that word in my ear. Coach Jay wanted me to dig down deep and find something in myself that would make me perform better than any other twelve year old. It worked. I heard that word – and I hit.
I don’t play on a football team anymore, but I am still on a team. Even though I am technically a team of one, I have approached my role as the director of the Hendry County Economic Development Council as that of a dot connector. I am someone who puts social, economic and environmental resources together to create the foundation for a more sustainable economy.
In Southwest Florida, the key to economic development dot-connecting is to focus on workforce. Workforce is the incentive for business development and growth as well as a sustainable economy. But developing a skilled workforce is complicated because it is personal, and relies on the separate spheres that are education and employment.