Power of place | New North | insightonbusiness.com

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CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP) was one of two businesses honored with 2023 New North Workplace Excellence Awards at the New North Summit June 8. 

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

New North, Inc. President Barb LaMue shared this African proverb during the economic development organization’s annual summit to illustrate the combined power of the region’s 18-county footprint.

“We don’t operate in a vacuum,” LaMue told the summit’s 600 attendees who gathered June 8 at Lambeau Field Atrium in Green Bay. “You can’t have a strong region without strong local communities.”

Examples of collaboration were illuminated throughout the event, which convenes business, education and community leaders from around the region and state to connect, share economic development updates and celebrate successes.

The summit highlighted the region’s collective work in the areas of broadband deployment, new state and federal funding, leadership development for diverse talent and the impact of industry alliances.

LaMue shared updates on several New North initiatives, including the upcoming launch of WiDEN.biz, a new technology platform for minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses in Wisconsin.

Three keynote speakers presented on this year’s theme, “the power of place,” each from their individual perspectives as business leaders with ties to the region.

Alida Al-Saadi, senior partner at the consulting firm Korn Ferry, was raised in Green Bay and graduated from UW-Green Bay. A recognized thought leader in innovation, organizational strategies and culture transformation, Al-Saadi challenged attendees to shift their thinking around artificial intelligence and its potential impact on the region’s economy. Al-Saadi compared the advent of AI — a $15 trillion market and growing — to the evolution from candlelight to the electric light bulb. Humans had to adapt from “light as luxury, to light as accessible and constant.”

“Building our future requires seeing through new eyes,” she said. “It might require taking new paths and challenging our perception.”

Green Bay native and LiveX co-founder Corey Behnke’s keynote shared his experience expanding his live streaming services and technology company to the New North. In 2022, LiveX officially opened a new custom-built facility in Green Bay’s Rail Yard Innovation District District. Behnke now operates both New York and Green Bay LiveX locations from his home in Titletown.

“The new remote workforce can be anywhere, so why not Green Bay?” Behnke said.

In his keynote presentation, UWGB graduate Ben Kvalo, former lead project manager at Netflix Games, encouraged attendees to continue building opportunities — like Behnke has — that attract talent to the region. “When opportunity can meet talent where it is, talent can flourish where we are in Northeast Wisconsin.”

Two New North companies — CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP) and Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry — were honored with 2023 New North Workplace Excellence Awards. The honor recognizes organizations in the region that are improving their competitive advantage and business outcomes through people practices.

CLA, with six New North locations that employ 375 people, was recognized for its “Better Together” philosophy developed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The business perspective prioritizes flexibility and choice and has resulted in lower-than-average turnover within the industry.

Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry was recognized for the development of its dedicated training center, paired with a bilingual curriculum, to ensure consistent employee orientation, assimilation and training.

“The innovative people and business practices of CLA and Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry shined through during the evaluations of the judging committee,” LaMue said. “Their individual approaches to solving current workforce challenges have resulted in increased business success, along with enhanced diversity and inclusion.”

New North board co-chair Michelle Schuler of Microsoft attributed the region’s growth to the collaborative spirit between government, business and nonprofit sectors. Five years ago, the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft united on the shared goal of driving economic development through the venture capital firm TitletownTech, which has invested in dozens of early-stage startups.

“This region has more power now than ever before,” Schuler said. “But this journey is ongoing; it never ends — and we each have a role in it.”

Source: Power of place | New North | insightonbusiness.com

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