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Community conversation will help generate ideas to improve the future

What does success look like? That will be the first question asked in a community conversation being held at the NSCC gymnasium on Wednesday.

The event, entitled Pictou County 2020: Ideas, will run from 6:30 p.m. -8:30 p.m. and is open to everyone interested in helping to write the next chapter of Pictou County's success story.

"We have a tradition of success in our county," says Susan MacConnell, one of the organizers. "From our skilled tradespeople, farmers' markets, artisans and musicians, to our national and multinational businesses, we have proven our success in the local and global economy.  This conversation is intended to look at where we go from here."

Janice Fraser, another organizer, sees our current situation as one of change and opportunity.

"Pictou County is in a time of transition and our goal is to create the conditions that will inspire meaningful conversations, leading to action and vision for Pictou County 2020."

Jaime Smith, whose company, Marram Consulting, has recently worked with more than 800 community members to facilitate findings for community health studies, recognizes the eagerness of county residents to move forward. 

"People find value in being included in discussions and debate about how we create a successful community," Smith said.  "This event will allow for those important conversations and community engagement to take place."

Sally O'Neill was first inspired to host this conversation after attending the Georgetown Conference in PEI.

"At Georgetown, the focus was on ideas and successes,” O’Neill said. “Ordinary people working together to do extraordinary things in a way that is attainable for them. Changing the way we think, as individuals, and as a community, will have a dramatic and positive impact on our future, and it can happen very quickly. We can do this - together."

Nancy MacConnell-Maxner says the idea for community conversations was generated after attending a training session for the Art of Hosting.

“Jaime, Janice and I were at a training session in Mahone Bay and they were talking about the community conversation they had just hosted in Lunenburg in response to the One Nova Scotia Report (Ivany Report).  We realized that we could do the same in Pictou County.  We don’t need to wait for someone else to step up, as we, too, have the capacity to host a conversation."

The conversation will harness the collective wisdom in the room to look for actions that can move forward into the next phase of our growth as a county.

"There is no limit to the possibilities presented to us in the years ahead," says MacConnell. "We just have to be open to those possibilities."

For more information, email the organizers at

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