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Leaders Meet to Discuss Guilford County Vision

HIGH POINT, N.C., May 16, 2007 -- The crowd included the movers and shakers of Guilford County early this morning as more than 200 leaders of business, education, nonprofit and government gathered in the Slane Student Center and the Hayworth Fine Arts Center on the campus of High Point University for the first meeting of One Guilford: A Leadership Symposium. The Symposium – hosted by High Point University and sponsored by the News & Record – was intended to open dialogue among all segments of our community for the purpose of creating a common vision for the region.

HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein opened the Symposium with words of hope for the future and for the prospects of working together on a more unified region. He then introduced the keynote speaker, Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines and Braniff International Airlines.

During his address, Putnam spoke of the importance of vision. Using examples from his years in the airline industry, Putnam called for leaders across all segments of the community to find things we can agree on, look for ways to get more from our resources and to constantly strive to reinvent ourselves … both as individual organizations and as a region.

Following Putnam's address, a panel of community leaders – moderated by Allen Johnson, Editorial Page Editor of the News & Record – fielded questions and led a discussion about the future of Guilford County. Topics included: What makes Guilford County great – and how do we build on such recent successes as Honda Jet? What is Guilford County's social capital – and how do we increase it? How do we build trust in our communities – and among our leaders?

Panelists included:

Al Barnett, Jr., Financial Advisor, Scott & Stringfellow
Don Cameron, President, Guilford Technical Community College
Mona Edwards, Chief of Staff, Center for Creative Leadership
Jeff Miller, CEO, High Point Regional Health System
David Noer, Holt Professor of Leadership and Business Administration, Elon University
Becky Smothers, Mayor, City of High Point

Closing remarks were offered by John Alexander, President & CEO, Center for Creative Leadership.

At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in a fun environment with caring people. HPU is a liberal arts institution with approximately 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 50 countries and 44 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report 15th among comprehensive universities in the South and in the top 100 nationally. The university offers 68 undergraduate majors, 33 minors and seven graduate-degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference.

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