There’s a new pooch at the Miller pad.
He’s a mini-sheepadoodle—an English Sheepdog and poodle cross. We call him El Mago (the Magician) after Cubs shortstop Javier Baez and, curiously enough, a sickly magnolia tree that grew in front of our family’s first home. He’s cute in a ridiculous way, with a white and black face, forlorn eyes and fluffy polar bear paws. He looks like a stuffed animal sewn together by an overly emotional Japanese anime seamstress.
He's also a pain in the … thumbs, nostrils, earlobes. Wherever his tiny teeth happen to nip.
Any parent of a toddler understands the problem when orneriness and cuteness cross. You catch your kiddo in the act and you’re about to let him have it. Then he looks up at you with a wrinkled brow and quivering lip and you start to giggle, because, let’s face it, being bad is funny. Just like that, discipline is destroyed.
That happened with Mago the other day. My son and I were chatting on the porch when we happened to look into the house and see the Magster with a sneaker in his mouth. He caught us spying on him and got a genuinely guilty look on his face. His head drooped, his eyes dropped, and the sneaker slipped slowly, slowly out of his teeth until it was hanging by the end of a single lace.
And then, suddenly, Mago realized that he did not feel guilty at all. He gobbled the shoe back up and, with a crazy, flopping shake of his head, broke its pathetic rubber-and-canvas back. Then he was off, sprinting and sprawling through the house with his lifeless, stinky prize.
Our family is learning that training takes time; puppies repeat their mistakes. The same holds true for economic development organizations. The Iowa Lakes Corridor may be nearly three decades older than El Mago, but we have to be reminded on occasion to do the simple things. Like communicating with our investors. Despite daily social media updates and this very newsletter prepared each week by the indispensable Alyssa Petersen, our communicator-in-chief, we hear far too often from important partners, “What have you been up to lately?”
That’s why our new five-year plan, Partnership, Progress, Prosperity: FY 2021-2025, mandates that we, “Report the execution of the strategic plan to investors through quarterly events….”
We had our first such meeting of the fiscal year yesterday. More than 30 investors logged on for an update on the local COVID-19 situation from Colette Rossiter of Spencer Hospital and hear from Kelly Bay of IowaWORKS about online training opportunities for local workers. In between, the Corridor ran through some of our performance metrics. The whole shindig was hosted expertly by Board chairperson Deb Satern of SATERN® Barrels, who is already crushing it in only her second month on the job.
Next up is the Corridor’s FY 2020 annual report, which because we just completed a four-year plan of work, actually summarizes our efforts all the way back to 2017. Look for that beautiful document prepared by Blink Marketing of Milford in your mailboxes in the next few days.
Also, please tune into local radio stations and watch area newspapers for quality reporting about the Corridor and economic development generally. And, of course, follow the Corridor on Facebook
As for El Mago, well, he’s a young pup. The Corridor is an old dog. Hopefully, he’ll learn to bark less as we bark just a bit more.