You have probably heard about the Boise economic summit.
The event is billed as a chance for companies to share their ideas, and to network.
The summit has also drawn plenty of criticism for what some see as political overreach, including a ban on a single-payer health care plan and a policy that allowed local governments to levy sales taxes for non-essential services.
Now, the Economic Summit’s organizers are looking to address some of those issues, and the result is a summit that’s focused more on community engagement than on the summit itself.
The Economic Summit 2016 was held last month at Boise State University.
In its inaugural session, attendees shared how their businesses had impacted the local economy and how Boise had become a model for other cities.
Many speakers also shared their personal stories, such as the time they lost their jobs to a medical condition, and how the summit helped them keep their families together.
But many attendees weren’t as eager to share the positive stories of their own businesses.
One attendee said he was disappointed to not see Boise’s efforts in the summit spotlighted on social media, because “it was the only time we could see how the community is making a difference.”
In his first hour of talks, attendees received a few messages of support, including from fellow attendees who shared their own struggles.
In his talk, CEO Mike Dolan shared how he used the summit to help other business owners navigate their businesses.
“We have to learn how to work with each other and be able to share our insights and insights in a way that’s good for us, good for the business,” Dolan said.
“And I think what we’ve seen with the Boise Summit, it’s really just a great opportunity for businesses to connect and get to know each other.”
While the summit’s agenda has focused on economic issues, the agenda also featured some political discussions.
In the first hour, speakers discussed the upcoming elections, the health care bill, and other issues facing the nation.
Attendees also shared how the Summit’s attendees have helped them navigate the political process, such the fact that some attendees were excluded from the debate.
“It’s like being at the White House, you can go there and you can say what you want,” said Dolan.
“But if you don’t speak the language of the president, it feels like you’re a little bit like, I don’t really understand what he’s saying, but I know he means what he says.”
For many attendees, the Summit was an opportunity to reconnect with their local communities and share their own stories.
Some attendees shared their local businesses and shared their successes and failures.
Some said they were able to get jobs through the economic summit, but others said their businesses were unable to secure a job.
One participant, whose business had been hit hard by the health bill, said she had to leave the event in tears because of the stigma surrounding the health insurance companies.
“You’re just a little sad, you’re just so sad,” said the person who asked not to be identified.
“I feel like people don’t like the fact there’s a community of business owners and businesses, and I feel like it’s not an inclusive environment, it just doesn’t feel right.”
While some attendees said they hoped the economic conference would help build a positive relationship between local business owners, the summit is also a chance to share how the city and its people have changed in recent years.
One speaker told attendees how the economic forum had inspired her to pursue a career in the arts, and said she hoped it would inspire others to pursue careers in the same way.
“People are coming to me and saying, ‘I think you’re going to do something,'” said the speaker, who asked to be named “Tiffany.”
“I just love the idea of bringing people together and giving them the opportunity to learn about their city and see the beauty and the diversity.”
As attendees discussed the summit, attendees stood in a circle to applaud.
One woman said she was thrilled to hear the word “bois” being used more in the city.
“Bois, bois, you mean something,” she said.
Another woman said it was a great chance to connect with local business people.
“The next time I’m in Boise, I’m going to get my business out there, I want to show that I’m not just an employee, that I can really make a difference in the community,” she added.
“That’s the beauty of the summit.”
This story is part of IGN’s coverage of the Economic and Business Summit.