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Shaping Our Board’s Engagement & Strategic Direction

Session Two Overview

At our May board meeting, we broke into small groups to discuss the CEDS process and the impact we hope to create through our

active engagement in the process. 


We distilled and organized your collective contributions into four categories which addressed the following discussion questions: 



Your contributions will be shared with TIP Strategies, the consulting firm facilitating our CEDS process.  We are also using the information you have shared to inform the design of our fall retreat and our approach to the board's ongoing work.

In addition to the important recap of your work together, below you will find a CEDS video update from Gary Ballew, which includes helpful information on how to get involved. 


Please take time to review the content and ideas that you and your peers have contributed and respond to each of the three questions below. Thank you!


1.  Our WhyWhy is the CEDS process so important for the GSI Board to invest in?

2.  Our Process GoalsHow will we work together as a team to maximize the value of this process?

3. Areas of Interest:  What do we want to learn about our community and our economy through the CEDS process?

4. Stakeholders in our Community's Vision:  Who should be involved in the CEDS process?  How might we ensure we

    engage a diverse selection of people throughout our region?

Our Why

"Why is the CEDS process so important for the GSI Board to invest in?"

Happy Girl with Glasses

"We hope this CEDS plan will develop something sustainable and relevant that will impact the safety and economic vitality of our region (jobs, roads, schools, tourism, health).

We want an inviting community in which children, grandchildren, and all others can thrive."

Our Why

Our Process Goals

"How will we work together as a team to maximize the value of this process?"


Response #1


After reviewing the board's Why (the reasons CEDS is important to us) and the CEDS Process Goals (above), consider again,
"what must be true for the board to maximize the value of the process and the likelihood of CEDS success?" 

Then, please rate the priority for the board to commit to each of the seven Process Goals.
Rate them from one star as "not a priority"  to five stars as an "essential priority." 

Invest Our Time & TalentsNot a priorityLow priorityNeutral High priorityEssential priorityInvest Our Time & Talents
Build RelationshipsNot a priorityLow priorityNeutral High priorityEssential priorityBuild Relationships
Work in Small GroupsNot a priorityLow priorityNeutral High priorityEssential priorityWork in Small Groups
Stay Connected to The ProcessNot a priorityLow priorityNeutral High priorityEssential priorityStay Connected to The Process
Tap Into Our NetworksNot a priorityLow priorityNeutral High priorityEssential priorityTap Into Our Networks
Keep a Regional PerspectiveNot a priorityLow priorityNeutral High priorityEssential priorityKeep a Regional Perspective
Learn Along the WayNot a priorityLow priorityNeutral High priorityEssential priorityLearn Along the Way

Thank you for your input.

Cultivate Curiosity: Areas of Interest

"What do we want to learn about our community and our economy through the CEDS process?"


  • What does success look like in terms of comprehensive economic development?


  • What is the ultimate vision for this community as we align with all interested parties?


  • What will need to have happened or changed in our community for us to look back and say, "We did it. We improved the economic vitality of our region."

  • Which other communities have been wildly successful with economic development?  What can we learn from them?


  • COVID-19 challenges: What does a vibrant core look like NOW?

  • What does it mean to each of us to keep downtown vibrant?

  • How might it change as you wear different hats?

  • How might we find an effective path to encourage businesses and employees and consumers to return to downtown cores (including Valley/Liberty Lake and other municipalities) for work, shopping, general activity?

  • What is stopping us from building housing downtown?

  • Is there a parallel study that assesses all pockets of housing that are needed? Do we need to change our zoning? Who is supportive of that? How does GMA play into this discussion?

  • How might we respond to the homeless problem so that we can   re‐establish downtown as an attractive/inviting place for visitors and local citizens?

  • How do we most effectively address the uncertainty across the board in the post-covid context (possibility for new ways of doing things)?

  • How might we learn the most about the existing economic development ecosystem that is in place? What can we do to strengthen it and actually help make a difference from an acquisition and retention perspective?


  • What types of development plans currently exist? How do they fit together? How are the plans resourced (Cities, Counties, and State)?


  • How well do existing economic development plans fit with the interests of the broader community?


  • What are the major disconnects between planners and community members on infrastructure, upcoming opportunities, and potential threats? How do we bridge them?


  • How might we build support for a tax or other community funding mechanism for economic development? Are there growth or anti‐growth ideas out there we don't know about?


  • What are the central goals that everybody agrees on?



  • What are the biggest housing issues and infrastructure needs?

  • As housing prices in Spokane go up, what will "new" potential residents think?

  • What are the root causes of homelessness in our region?

  • What is needed for housing to be affordable? What are the repercussions if there isn't access to affordable housing options?


  • How do we ensure that we have a diverse, inclusive process? How do we know if we've done that effectively?


  • How might we highlight cultural assets and identify opportunities?


  • What groups are GSI not including in our current footprint that we should specifically target to ensure diverse input?


  • Coming out of the pandemic, how can we help folks get back in the workforce?

  • How can we attract more qualified labor to this area?

  • How can we dignify basic trades in high school that need more people (machinists, plumbers, electricians, health techs)? How can we prepare students better in high school to graduate and be qualified to get these jobs?

  • What policies/methods might work best to increase the effective labor force and address the acute shortage of labor throughout the inland Empire?

  • How is ED funded (private/business/state/local/federal)?


  • How does childcare impact economic recovery?


  • How we are going to help grow and build our existing business in addition to looking for the new shiny object?

  • What do our existing businesses need most? How do we best support them?

  • With the substantial increase in minimum wages and housing prices and other cost-of-living factors, how are businesses going to remain competitive with competitors in our more affordable neighboring state of ID?

  • How might we address the challenges of comparative costs across ID border (disadvantages of a border town)?

  • How do we incentivize WA businesses to stay in our region?  

  • How might we design creative yet reasonable incentives to offset some of the costs? What barriers have gotten in the way to this point?

  • How might we design marketing and promote businesses for the purpose of recruiting as well as a "buy local" mentality?


  • How might we capture a well-rounded perspective of the challenges industries face, find commonalities, and work towards solutions?

  • How can we work better together with like organizations in Spokane (DSP, VS, Valley, City, County, U District, West Plains, etc.) to achieve the greatest level of economic development for our region?

  • How can we communicate better, so we have less overlap?

  • What makes this type of collaboration so challenging? What bright spots are out there that prove it can work?

Response #2


Thank you for your ideas.


Stakeholders in our Community's Vision

"Who should be involved in the CEDS process?  How might we ensure we engage a diverse selection of people throughout our region?"

"We need to come together to engage‐ like quilters we have so many different, diverse members,

that add to the beauty of the quilt. We HAVE to take advantage of that and use our power to do so."

"I believe that positive change in our community will best happen through collective collaboration of multi‐faceted groups of leaders comprised of government, educational, business, and community. We cannot rely on leadership from the State or national to help us move the needle. GSI is the ideal vehicle to have those conversations and to nurture the ideas."

"We need to identify the common ground where multiple players can come together around

shared priorities. If we are too siloed, we won't accomplish the big things."



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Big business

Small business

Community members


Local Government


Environmental groups

Hospitals and healthcare providers


University District

BIPOC Community

Women-owned businesses




Key industries

   (i.e. Lifesciences, Energy, Agriculture, Aerospace)

   across all sectors(i.e. Manufacturing, Technology).

Workforce development teams (colleges)



Union Gospel/Anna Ogden Hall


broadly the economic development councils/committees in the region

Response #3

Thank you for your input.


CEDS Update

Ways to get involved


As a GSI board member, you will be signed up to receive ongoing updates about the CEDS work. You will be notified when there is an opportunity to review the information and provide feedback. There will also be meetings and other opportunities to participate. It is a good way to stay engaged, stay informed, and help guide the process. There will be an opt-out at the bottom of each e-mail, allowing you to opt-out of receiving additional emails.


You may have noticed that the ‘Update to Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the Region Defined by Spokane County’ doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. So, we'd like to invite you to help us rename the process by participating in a naming contest! As a reminder, the CEDS will serve as a strategy-driven plan to build capacity and guide economic prosperity and resiliency for the Greater Spokane region. With that, we are looking for a short name for the CEDS (max of 3 words) that promotes community collaboration and inclusivity while also conveying a forward-looking, action-oriented effort that will continue through the plan’s implementation.

All entries must be submitted through this form or by email to Joey Gunning at by July 14 at 11:59 p.m.


Please consider being a part of the Steering Committee. As a Steering Committee member, you will play an active role in developing the region's strategies for economic growth by attending eight monthly meetings starting in July 2021 (with a recess during the month of August). Each meeting will be 60-90 minutes, and you are required to attend every meeting, as information will continue to build upon each other over the planning process. Some meetings will be in-person, and we will do what we can to have a virtual option but cannot guarantee it. You will also be expected to put in the time to help us get the word out. This might entail attending community events to take in surveys or other activities. You will need to provide a timely review of documents and engage in open discussion with individuals you may disagree with while being an active listener. Being on the Steering Committee will require your time and talents, but it is rewarding. If you are interested, let us know, and we will provide additional information.


A broad group of community leaders will be fully engaged in the planning process. The Thought Leaders group will participate in the project launch, roundtables and interviews, strategy development, and implementation planning. This group will convene at least three times during the 10-month project.


Please forward us the contact information of others you believe would be interested in this work. If you are wondering if someone should be engaged in this process, then the answer is yes! We want a robust conversation, so please help us get the word out.

How do you want to be involved?

Thank you!

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