As anticipated, day 2 in Salt Lake did not disappoint. For me, the day was about inspiration, about being driven by the innovativeness and creativeness we were exploring.
And while the places we saw were astonishing, the thing I was most inspired by was the relationships being built among our trip attendees. Throughout the entire trip, there has been constant conversations, discussions about what we were experiencing and what it could mean to Charleston. One of the most impactful things about the trip is the ability to develop strong friendships that last well beyond the four days of this trip.
Our first session of the day was with Envision Utah which was founded in 1997 to make sure that as the population in Utah grew, residents could maintain the quality of life they wanted. They engage people to develop long-range strategic plans to create and sustain communities that are beautiful, prosperous, healthy and neighborly for current and future residents.
They launched there first strategy 20 years ago and completed an extension of that strategy in 2015. While many communities develop strategic plans, Envision Utah utilizes a unique process that has led to their success. They start with values, asking Utahns what they want for the future, next they seek input and participation from stakeholders.
I’ll pause here and emphasize this step. They bring everyone into the process at this point, regardless of if they are a supporter or not.
This allows them to listen, to hear the ideas of others, find common ground and, ultimately, buy-in. Their next step is to create scenarios around what the future might look like based on the choices they make. They present these scenarios to the public to determine which scenario Utahns want to work towards which finally leads to the creation of a vision for the future.
Next up we loaded up and headed to Adobe’s Lehi office. As we walked in the building, you could sense the group’s excitement. The facility, which opened in 2012, houses approximately 1,300 employees and they are currently constructing phase 2. The additional building is expected to open the summer of 2020 and will provide an additional 1,000 seats for employees.
With 22,000 employees globally, why did Adobe choose to locate in Utah? It came down to three main factors:
- Access to talent – there are 35 universities and colleges within the state
- Infrastructure and ecosystem – Utah continually invests in ongoing road and transit improvements
- The vibe – Utah offers a great family friendly community, with a good cost of living and city, suburban and outdoor lifestyles
The group received the greatest inspiration from Adobe’s focus on investing in their employees. It is evident their philosophy is if you take care of your employees, they take care of you. With a 24/7 gym, music room, game room and a café that offers subsidized food (among much more), they have considered a whole variety of interests. Sustainability is also important and they have implemented solutions like heating their atrium with heat harnessed from their servers.
Adobe understands the impact of providing their employees the ability to do good in the world. In fact, they will match up to $10,000 in charitable giving per employee per year. They see the value of strong culture, and while many of us are not able to offer the lush array of amenities Adobe does, we can all be inspired by their drive to build an exceptional culture and invest in their employees.
We concluded our sessions for the day at Silicon Slopes which serves as the voice, hub and heart of Utah’s startup and tech community. They are empowering this community to learn, connect and serve to make entrepreneurship and opportunity open and accessible to all. Silicon Slopes inspires entrepreneurs to create and provides them the resources to launch and build a successful venture.
With a wealth of information to digest, we ended our day with dinner in Park City – thank you to Ingevity for sponsoring. We had the unique opportunity to overlook the Utah Olympic Park and even got to watch some skiers practicing. It was a perfect backdrop to envision the tremendous impact we can bring home with us and enjoy great company and conversation.
Thank you to each attendee for taking the time away from family and work to learn and be inspired. It is clear, every attendee is determined to make our community the best it can be.And thank you to each of our sponsors for your continual support of Metro Leadership Visit.