Earlier this month I attended the Oregon Business Plan’s 14th annual Oregon Leadership Summit. I had no idea what to expect. I’m a 23-year old millennial, and political and business agendas aren’t necessarily something I’m actively exploring. I clearly wasn’t the target demographic. However, the all-day event caught me up on the top issues in Oregon right now.

Like many of the business men and women in attendance, I too, voted “no” on Measure 97. I was interested to observe the repercussions of the failed measure. Several speakers shared perspectives on business and political leaders working together to find a way out of the dark hole of the state’s fiscal debt. As I found myself more engaged and absorbed in the ideas being shared, I watched the Oregon Business Plan’s Twitter account blow up with tweets from audience members who were equally impressed.

Probably like most in attendance, I was looking forward to hearing what Governor Kate Brown would have to say to an audience representing those who would have borne the burden of tax increase and fought to defeat the measure.


Photo by Wonder Knack

I found myself perplexed. She spoke for only seven minutes. She didn’t propose ideas of collaborating with the business community to find solutions for state’s problems. Instead she focused on her desire to create more opportunities for Oregon’s children and challenged the crowd to help her be successful. Everyone seemed a little surprised by the tone and brevity, which were reflected in news stories covering the event. I was disappointed she didn’t speak longer, but her message was memorable.

The Oregon Leadership Summit demonstrated how many of our business and political leaders are willing to work together toward a greater common goal. It sparked a new interest in me in Oregon’s economy and I’ll be tuning in to see what 2017 has in store.