John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
It’s time we put to rest the idea that the fate of the St. Louis region is tied to one leader. Over the last six months, from the barbershop to the board room, we’ve longed for a single leader to set us on the path forward. Community leaders atop some of our most prestigious corporations and institutions have stepped up, and they have been met with the impossible burden of finding just the right solution to “fix” St. Louis. We have to stop. We’re setting ourselves up for failure, a failure we can’t afford.
Our challenges on the road ahead are complicated and complex, and the leadership to move us forward can’t be found in one person or sector. There are too many hurting people, particularly children, living and educated in conditions that undermine our long term competitiveness as a region to pin the hard work on one leader.
I’m less interested in choosing a single leader and more compelled to identify a common vision St. Louis can rally around.
A vision that includes those who live in the outermost rural edges to the innermost urban parts of our region.
A vision that helps children succeed.
A vision that requires something from all of us.
The barriers are many but surmountable.
Once we have a common vision, it will be many leaders who inspire us to achieve our region’s greatest aspirations. I believe that we are on the cusp of achieving greater things, and to achieve them will require all of us.