The following article was published in the Lethbridge Herald on December 02, 2015.
Last week, I travelled to Edmonton to participate in Team Lethbridge. Holy Spirit is one of 19 diverse partner organizations that make up the membership of Team Lethbridge. Every two years, the group organizes a “mission” to Edmonton to meet with MLAs, Ministers and their departments. This was the first visit with our new government. Our local MLAs, Honorable Shannon Phillips and Maria Fitzpatrick, were tremendously supportive and spoke highly about Team Lethbridge to their colleagues.
The purpose of the trip is somewhat different from what one might think. The main focus is to demonstrate the progressive and innovative community we live in and to highlight the many benefits offered by the City. In other words, it is not a visit to come with hands out asking for money, but rather an opportunity to showcase the many reasons why investment in Lethbridge supports the province as a whole.
Team Lethbridge is unique and is the only municipality that has been able to sustain this type of work. The reason is quite simple and yet very hard to accomplish without tremendous leadership and foresight. Collaboration is the ingredient that makes Team Lethbridge so successful. Each of the 19 diverse partners speaks with one voice and demonstrates the ability to create strong partnerships. Meetings with the ministries are characterized by how the partners collectively work together and support each other. It is not about the individual, it is about the group. The result is the creation of tremendous synergy.
Though Team Lethbridge understands the importance of building positive relationships with government, since it is through these relationships that awareness of our local contributions can enhance and strengthen our province, the work benefits the partner organizations as well. Over three days member groups meet and discuss, connect and search for further opportunities to partner. The conversations typically begin with, “If we were able to make this happen, how might that positively impact your organization?” It is rare to have the chance for so many diverse solution-oriented groups together in one place with the same express purpose of supporting the long-term success of Lethbridge and its surrounding areas.
The team will debrief on Thursday, already beginning to look for ways to improve and in preparation for our next mission. However, it seems remiss not to take a brief moment to congratulate Team Lethbridge group on this past and very successful mission. Well done Team Lethbridge!