Uncommon Communities

Uncommon Communities

making our own future - Session XI: Leadership

September 7, 2017 · 11:30 AM – Sep 8, 2017 · 5:30 PM

Uncommon Communities is a community and economic development program that marries the wisdom and methodology of celebrated community development expert Dr. Vaughn Grisham, professor emeritus of sociology and founding director of the McLean Institute for Community development at the University of Mississippi, with the award-winning Breakthrough Solutions partnership, under the direction of Dr. Mark Peterson at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. This comprehensive program will produce a group of community leaders who are equipped to assess, plan, visualize and mobilize citizenry to work together in the areas of economic development, education and workforce development, and quality of life and place—the critical elements of thriving communities—with an aim to help them become vibrant and sustainable in the 21st century global knowledge economy. Presenters for Uncommon Communities include practitioners, faculty and community leaders and are from Arkansas as well as Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina and Georgia.

Our pilot program focuses on five counties in the vicinity of the Institute: Conway, Perry, Pope, Van Buren and Yell. All of these counties are largely rural and have poverty rates between 17% and 23%; lost 1,249 jobs between 2007 and 2013; and have unemployment rates that are 109% of the state average. The Uncommon Communities model is designed to be scalable and replicable, and we intend to continue it statewide after a successful two-year pilot.

In addition to the statewide and national expertise provided in our carefully crafted series of bi-monthly development and training sessions at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute beginning on August 28, 2015, participants will have access to a broad network of resource people provided by the Institute and Breakthrough Solutions Partners. These resource partners will be available to help participants realize their on-the-ground goals between the sessions on the mountain.

Session XI - Leadership 

Uncommon Communities Year III will kick-off on Thursday, September 7, 2017 at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton Fine Arts Building Auditorium with two days of interactive workshops. The workshops, offered exclusively to Uncommon Communities participants, will explore how city and community leaders can foster a culture of leadership across all sectors, disciplines, generations, and county lines to make bold investments in their future.  

Featuring special guest – Greg Tehven

Greg Tehven, co-founder of Emerging Prairie, will deliver one of two keynote addresses. Tehven will share inspiring stories to help our Uncommon Communities build their town into the community they want to live in by infusing the arts and build on their bright spots. Tehven has been published in, Fortune Magazine, and other publications, and delivered keynote addresses across the country.

Keynote Address II - Charlotte Strickland 

Charlotte Strickland is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas Charlotte earned a Business degree from the University of Central Arkansas and a Masters degree in Higher Education from the University of South Carolina. For over thirty years Charlotte has worked in Higher Education coordinating Orientation, Ethics and Leadership academic courses, Greek training and Leadership training seminars. In 1989 Charlotte was invited to join the company, Designs for Development, specializing in training student leaders. She traveled across the country working with students and university employees. In 2002 Charlotte founded her own company, Strickly Speaking. In addition to college campuses, her audiences include churches, civic groups, state/federal agencies, and corporations. Charlotte currently serves as UCA’s Director of Professional Development and Training. She provides campus-wide training on subjects such as Diversity, Customer Service, Workplace Harassment and Supervisory Skills. In addition to the ongoing training seminars, she annually teaches a UCA Diversity course.

Please note:  The remainder of the session—before and after the keynotes—is not open to the public and only available to a select group of participants. If you would like to attend the keynote, please contact Samantha Evans at 501-652-0330 or

Thursday, September 7 • 11:30 AM - The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, Fine Arts Building Auditorium   

Friday, September 8 • 8:30 AM - The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, Fine Arts Building Auditorium 

For more information, contact Program Officer Samantha Evans at 501-652-0330 or