Heartland Summit organizers hope gathering ignites change – Talk Business & Politics

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Angie Cooper is big on collaboration to get things done.

“I always say, ‘Magic happens when you get the right people in the room,'” Cooper said.

Cooper herself is part of a collaborative, year-long effort to bring people together in Bentonville. She is executive director of the Heartland Summit, an invitation-only annual event organized by Heartland Forward, a nonpartisan “thinking and doing” think tank in Bentonville.

This year’s summit brought 350 policy makers, investors, business and thought leaders and entrepreneurs to the city from November 8-9.

The conference welcomed dozens of notable speakers, including former Mayor of London (2008-2016) and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (2019-2022) Boris Johnson and Academy Award-winning actor and New York Times best-selling author Matthew McConaughey.

Johnson and McConaughey He addressed the opening session of the conference November 8 at the venue of the record, followed by the agenda of the day and many speakers at various locations in the city.

A few days after it ended, Cooper spoke to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal to discuss the impact of the meeting and her take on it.

“You can feel the joy from the many kind notes and things we received during the event, and after the event,” said Cooper, executive vice president of Heartland Forward. “There is a lot of motivation in the country, people want to continue working to make a positive difference.”

Different conversations
Organizers describe the summit as a forum for candid discussions on common challenges, to create positive action and strengthen relationships. That’s in Cooper’s Ballywick. In the year Prior to joining Heartland Forward in early 2020, she worked for Walmart Inc. for 17 years in a variety of public policy roles, from local, state and federal to most recently as executive director of global policy.

I think people took the label of our summit as ‘meet in the middle’ because we had so many different views and opinions on stage. “At the end of the day, we have to promote the country and cooperate, maybe, sometimes our country doesn’t seem to do that.”

Heartland Forward formally launched in late 2019—one year after the first iteration of the Heartland Summit—and is led by members of the Walton family. This is the first US think tank to focus exclusively on the economic situation of the heartland region.

Stuart Walton and his brother Tom Walton, grandsons of Walmart founder Sam Walton, and Tom’s wife, Olivia Walton, board chair of American Art Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, all live in Bentonville. They established the meeting five years ago to initiate economic growth and change the narrative in the center of the country.

At the conference’s opening night session, leaders from across the country discussed what inspired them to gather in Bentonville for the unique event and the impact it will have.

“The recipe for quality-of-life investments is something our communities and cities are just starting to realize,” said Tom Walton, a member of the Walton Family Foundation’s board of directors. “People understand [that] It’s more important now than ever. And with remote work and job flexibility, people will see [Northwest Arkansas] In a new way, and the communities here are helping that.

Stuart Walton of Walmart Inc. He is a board member and co-founder with Tom of Runway Group. The diversified holding company invests in real estate, hospitality and outdoor recreation in Northwest Arkansas. He said the growing cycling culture over the past 15 years makes him even more excited about the region’s future.

“In my view, there is no stopping now,” he said. “It’s a downhill-rolling snowball that keeps rolling and growing.”

Session topics
On the final day of the summit, attendees held free discussions in various breakout sessions at various venues across the city. A variety of topics including outdoor recreation, maternal health/childcare, biomimicry, adolescent mental health, artificial intelligence, impact investing, agricultural innovation, advanced mobility, local and global insights, entrepreneurship, economic development, and rethinking America’s health care system. They discussed strategies on issues.

Among the dozens in the audience who shared their insights on Thursday were:

  • General Atlantic Chairman and CEO Bill Ford
  • Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development
  • Robin Tannehill, the independent mayor of Oxford, Miss.
  • Miriam Vogel, president and CEO of EqualAI and chair of the National AI Advisory Committee
  • Alice Walton
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walsh

During her appearance Thursday, Walton, an arts and health care visionary and billionaire philanthropist, He explained the importance of technology and artificial intelligence. The future of health care. She is investing heavily in that effort to make a transformative approach to health and wellness accessible to everyone. Whole Health Institute and the Alice L. Walton School of Medicine (AWSOM) are under construction in Bentonville.

“Tomorrow’s doctors — today — need to be very comfortable with technology and AI,” said Walton, the only daughter of Walmart Inc. founders Sam and Helen Walton. “More than anything else, they can help with health care in rural America. That combination allows us to reach out to people in our rural communities who typically lack healthcare expertise.

I want our doctors of tomorrow to be ‘Tech’ with a big heart.

Another session explored how certain Heartland regions can use their assets and resources to attract economic development investments and public-private partnerships.

Mihalik, the former mayor of Finley, Ohio, discussed the work done to make Ohio available for a $20 billion investment in Intel, which is building two new chip factories in central Ohio. The most significant private sector investment in Ohio history, the first phase is expected to create 3,000 Intel jobs and 7,000 construction jobs.

Heartland Forward CEO Ross DeVoll said the attendees in the audience are just as important as the speakers on stage.

“Good public policy and corporate business leaders, philanthropists, investors, venture capitalists, bankers, people who can make things happen,” he said.

Cooper shared an example from the 2028 summit to underscore DeVole’s point.

“An entrepreneur meets an investor, and her business is booming downtown. [the point] People who attended the meeting are now living in Bentonville,” she said.



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