Those who tell the stories, rule the world

IMG_0152“Those who tell the stories rule, the world” goes the proverb. Gateway City leaders know firsthand that there’s still a lot of truth in this old wisdom. Too often, the performance and potential of Gateway Cities are defined by those on the outside who have little understanding of the struggle. When we make policy based on these impressions alone, there’s no question that we underinvest in the promise of our Gateway Cities.


For years, we have worked together to shift the narrative, and yet at times it seems like we are still havea great distance to go. Just this week, the Boston Globe reported on efforts to promote reinvestment in Gateway Cities without a single line acknowledging that there is a real rationale for stimulating the urban centers that drive our regional economies. This kind of coverage reminds us of why it’s so important for Gateway Cities to band together to tell their story.

And that’s exactly what we did this week in Worcester at the Third Annual Gateway City Innovation Awards. The event placed a bright light on the bold and dedicated leaders commanding the fight on the ground in our Gateway Cities. For each of the honorees, we screened a short video that captured the voices of dozens of Gateway City leaders behind the work. After the awards were presented, the change agents leading these initiatives joined us onstage to talk about universal lessons on what it takes to generate and sustain success. The exchange was moderated by Tim McGourthy, the Executive Director of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau and a longtime proponent for Gateway Cities coming together to change the narrative.


We were fortunate that Governor Baker was able to be with us to hear these stories firsthand, and share his thoughts on how the state can support more of this good work. The Governor is no stranger to Gateway Cities. In his travels, he has visited them again and again. He knows their leaders and clearly has a deep appreciation for their valiant work. Nick Donohue, President & CEO of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and a steady partner in our Gateway Cities Innovation Institute, offered a closing call to action, encouraging all of the Gateway City leaders to keep pushing forward together, harder.

Click here to read the report we unveiled at the event. It summarizes lessons learned from four case studies of successful Gateway City initiatives. Thank you again to all of our sponsors and all of those who joined us in Worcester for the celebration. We value your partnership and look forward to continuing to work with you in 2016.

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