Back from their trip to Houston, Phoenix health and education leaders are ready to go to work with what they’ve learned.
The goal of the March 20-22 trip was to learn how Houston built its world-class medical center and why health care is a key industry for economic development in the region.
Todd Sanders, CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, who joined Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and several Phoenix area executives, said Houston leaders had a cohesive way of talking about their economy across the board.
“Collaboration works,” he said. “You have 56 fiercely competitive entities doing this in a way that produced strong results. We would like to take that approach and expand on it. We can take that model and apply it broadly to make us even more competitive regionally and nationally.”
Chad Geston, superintendent of Phoenix Union High School District, said he liked how Texas Medical Center has an accelerator called TMCx that has helped launch entrepreneurs’ ideas that positively impact the medical field. He said he would like to model that concept within his district to create an education incubator.
“There are a lot of problems to be solved in education,” he said. “It made me really think about what innovation could be like in schools.”
Jeff Stelnik, senior vice president of strategy for sales and marketing at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona, said the trip was a great opportunity for Phoenix-area leaders to benchmark against another great city.
“One of the big takeaways was clearly, we have a lot of great things going on here in Phoenix,” Stelnik said. “Sometimes we don’t do a good enough job talking about all the great things we have in our community, including some of the really dedicated business leaders within the community.”
As chairman of the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation, Stelnik is looking for the right signature community event so that the community can rally around wellness.
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