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“Together, let us be creative in our thinking, collaborative in our work, resolute in our strategy and bold in our storytelling.”
Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D.
RFI Interim Executive Director & Chief Futurist
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People have the capacity to shape their own futures.

Communities are not just localities, but also networked groups of individuals working together toward a common goal and shared purpose.

Leaders are known by their vision, ideas, energy, passion and engagement in collective action.

Entrepreneurs are individuals and communities that combine strategic foresight and grit to take action to reach their desired futures.

Diverse and inclusive leadership is needed to propel communities forward.

Our complex future requires mutual respect and collaboration between rural and urban regions and communities.

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The Pulse of Rural



Articles & Releases

UNO Student Regent joins Rural Futures Podcast Episode 29 as Bold Voice

April 24, 2019
  April 24, 2019 — “My leadership philosophy is to always lead by example and to not see yourself as higher than anyone else,” said Renata Valquier Chavez, a third-year biotechnology and political science student at the University of Nebraska …
 

April 24, 2019 — “My leadership philosophy is to always lead by example and to not see yourself as higher than anyone else,” said Renata Valquier Chavez, a third-year biotechnology and political science student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).

Originally from Sidney, Iowa, Valquier Chavez moved to Elkhorn, Neb., during high school and decided to stay in Omaha, Neb., for her college experience. She is a member of the UNO Honors Program and a student-athlete on the UNO cross country and track team, and she spent the past year as the student body president and the student regent at UNO.

Valquier Chavez shared her University of Nebraska experience during the Bold Voices student segment of the Rural Futures Podcast Episode 29 at 22:51. The weekly podcast, “Rural Futures with Dr. Connie,” debuts every Tuesday, featuring a University of Nebraska student within a primary interview of a researcher, futurist or rural maverick creating leadership, technology and collaborative opportunities for rural communities across the country. This episode features Amy Webb, an award-winning author and professor of strategic foresight at the New York University Stern School of Business, and it is available across listening platforms — iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloudGoogle Play and Spotify.

“I think UNO is an absolutely spectacular university,” she said. “My vision for our future students is to have the sense of pride to be at the university that they are at, regardless of which campus it is within the University of Nebraska.”

Valquier Chavez believes that teamwork is crucial to her success as UNO Student Regent and Student Body President, as well as an honors student and a student-athlete. “I believe that it’s a group effort wherever it is that you’re leading, whether it’s on the cross country team or within student government,” she said.

“The point of being a leader is to inspire others to do things they think are right,” she said. “I see myself in this position to encourage my colleagues to go after tough projects and to tackle controversial issues,” she continued.

She shared her advice for college students, which included time management, living intentionally and finding joy. “I think it’s so important to remember that you’re doing this all by choice,” she said.

“When you’re in an elected position, you’re not doing it for yourself,” she said. “You are in a position to serve others,” she added.

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About the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska The Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska leverages the talents and research-based expertise from across the NU system on behalf of rural communities in Nebraska, the U.S. and around the world. Through a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, RFI encourages bold and futuristic approaches to address rural issues and opportunities. It works collaboratively with education, business, community, non-profit, government and foundation partners to empower rural communities and their leaders. ruralfutures.nebraska.edu

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Episode 29: Quantitative futurist Amy Webb intersects futurism, change, now-est mentality

April 23, 2019
      Amy Webb, Award-winning author and professor of strategic foresight at the New York University Stern School of Business, talks with Dr. Connie about the role and scope of futurists, the now-est mentality of the United States, our …

     

Amy Webb, Award-winning author and professor of strategic foresight at the New York University Stern School of Business, talks with Dr. Connie about the role and scope of futurists, the now-est mentality of the United States, our emotional relationship with change, the multiple pathways for possible futures and so much more. Amy is the Founder of the Future Today Institute, a leading foresight and strategy firm that helps leaders and their organizations prepare for complex futures, and her new book, The Big Nine, released in March.

After learning more about the Rural Futures Institute she said: “The Nebraska community and just the larger rural community is lucky that you guys exist and that you’re doing this work. Because, again, we’re reticent to change, it’s hard and, ultimately, what futurists ask people to do is to confront that uncertainty and that change and to accept it and to experiment and try things that are untested.”

“There are other ways to get to our preferred futures, and the challenge is that we keep relying on the things that we know. Sometimes the things that we know don’t fit the current demands of everyday life.”
Amy Webb
Quantitative

About Amy

              

Amy Webb is a quantitative futurist and a bestselling, award-wining author. She is a professor of strategic foresight at the New York University Stern School of Business and the Founder of The Future Today Institute, a leading foresight and strategy firm that helps leaders and their organizations prepare for complex futures.

Amy was named to the Thinkers 50 Radar list of the 30 management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organizations are managed and led and won the 2017 Thinkers 50 Radar Award. She is a Fellow in the United States-Japan Leadership Program, a Foresight Fellow in the U.S. Government Accountability Office Center for Strategic Foresight,and was a Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University where her research received a national Sigma Delta Chi award. She was also a Delegate on the former U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, where she worked on the future of technology, media and international diplomacy.

Amy’s research focus is artificial intelligence, and she has advised three-star generals and admirals, White House leadership and CEOs of some of the worlds largest companies on their futures.

She is the bestselling author of The Signals Are Talking: Why Todays Fringe Is Tomorrows Mainstream, which explains how to forecast emerging technology. It was a Washington Post Bestseller, won the Gold Axiom Award for business books and was selected as one of the best books the year by Fast Company, Inc. Magazine and Amazon.

Amy’s new book The Big Nine: How The Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity is a call-to-arms about the broken nature of artificial intelligence and the powerful corporations that are turning the human-machine relationship on its head.

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Bold Voices Student Segment

Renata Valquier Chavez, a third-year biotechnology and political science student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) joins the podcast as the Bold Voice.— Listen at 22:51 of Episode 29!

Originally from Sidney, Iowa, Renata moved to Elkhorn, Neb., during high school and decided to stay in Omaha, Neb., for her college experience. She is an honor student, a student athlete, the student body president and the student regent at UNO.

“I think UNO is an absolutely spectacular university,” she said. “My vision for our future students is to have the sense of pride to be at the university that they are at, regardless of which campus it is within the University of Nebraska.”

“The point of being a leader is to inspire others to do things they think are right,” she said. “I see myself in this position to encourage my colleagues to go after tough projects and to tackle controversial issues,” she continued.

Read the full Bold Voices release! »

Show Notes

Coming soon!

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UNMC Student Regent discusses Rural Healthcare on Rural Futures Podcast

April 17, 2019
  April 17, 2019 — “The University of Nebraska is an incredible institution,” said Sarah Hotovy, a third-year medical student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) from York, Neb. “It’s thriving, and it’s got incredible leadership that we’re …
 

April 17, 2019 — “The University of Nebraska is an incredible institution,” said Sarah Hotovy, a third-year medical student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) from York, Neb. “It’s thriving, and it’s got incredible leadership that we’re really lucky to have,” she added.

Hotovy shared her experience as UNMC Student Regent and Student Senate President during the Bold Voices student segment of the Rural Futures Podcast Episode 28 at 15:47. The weekly podcast, “Rural Futures with Dr. Connie,” debuts every Tuesday, featuring a University of Nebraska student within a primary interview of a researcher, futurist or rural maverick creating leadership, technology and collaborative opportunities for rural communities across the country. This episode features Garry Clark, Executive Director of the Greater Fremont Development Council in Fremont, Neb., and it is available across listening platforms — iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloudGoogle Play and Spotify.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in political science and biochemistry from Nebraska Wesleyan University, Hotovy spent a year in Indonesia teaching English as a Fulbright Scholar. She became UNMC’s Student Regent and Student Senate President during her second year at the Medical Center, and she is honored to have the opportunity to connect with and represent her peers.

“I like to lead through serving others,” Hotovy said of her servant-leadership style. “My goal through leadership is to see other people be successful and do what I can to help them be successful.” By encouraging and supporting her followers, she tries to help them reach their full potential and accomplish their goals.

Hotovy hopes to dedicate her career to affordable healthcare access for both rural and urban residents. “Regardless if they live in a town of three people or 300,000 people, I think that everyone deserves access to high-quality medical care,” she said. “If we can keep people healthier, we’re going to be more prosperous as a state,” she continued.

According to Hotovy, much of her success can be attributed to the University of Nebraska. “I really felt empowered at UNMC, not only to develop my skills so that I can be an excellent clinician and take good care of patients, but also to be a leader in the future of healthcare,” she said.

“So much happening at UNMC is groundbreaking, and it has really inspired me to make sure that I’m doing the same with my career,” she added.

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About the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska The Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska leverages the talents and research-based expertise from across the NU system on behalf of rural communities in Nebraska, the U.S. and around the world. Through a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, RFI encourages bold and futuristic approaches to address rural issues and opportunities. It works collaboratively with education, business, community, non-profit, government and foundation partners to empower rural communities and their leaders. ruralfutures.nebraska.edu

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Episode 28: Economic developer Garry Clark intersects workforce development, quality of life, fighting through fear

April 16, 2019
      There is opportunity in fighting through fear says Garry Clark, Executive Director of the Greater Fremont Development Council in Fremont, Neb. He would know. Garry grew up in the Washington, D.C., projects where he witnessed drug addiction. …

     

There is opportunity in fighting through fear says Garry Clark, Executive Director of the Greater Fremont Development Council in Fremont, Neb. He would know. Garry grew up in the Washington, D.C., projects where he witnessed drug addiction. When he had the opportunity to hop on a plane to Nebraska to accept a track scholarship, he took it. And with that leap, a ton of hard work and incredible talent, he became a national champion for Dana College. Garry talks about his journey and his deep love for rural places and Nebraska in his new book, Unlikely Viking and through this episode of our podcast.

Dr. Connie’s conversation with Garry took place in January 2019. They dove into his vision for the future of economic development, which he said in Fremont is focused on engaging current and potential residents through quality of life initiatives. They also talked workforce and the coming technologies that will impact recruitment of businesses as well as housing issues and funding opportunities.

Since their conversation, Fremont, Neb., and much of Northeast Nebraska has been significantly impacted by flooding in March 2019. Lives were lost and Nebraska’s damage is estimated at $1.8 billion. We touched base with Garry, and he says Fremont is in recovery mode. He urges listeners to donate to the American Red Cross.

“For 40 years or so, we’ve been smoke stack chasing — we’ve been looking for that big win that’s supposed to permeate our lives in rural places. And we’ve come to the realization that the only thing that sustains rural life are the people, and how we engage those people.”
Garry Clark

About Garry

     

Garry is the Executive Director of the Greater Fremont Development Council. In 2018, Garry was listed as a Midland’s Business Journal 40 under 40 winner and Fremont won Community of the Year. He is a native Washingtonian who graduated from Dana College and the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a master’s degree in Urban Studies.

Garry joined the Greater Fremont Development Council (GRDC) in Fremont, Neb., in September 2017. Prior to his GFDC role, Garry worked as the NIFA Opportunity Fund Manager out of the Omaha, Neb., and Lincoln, Neb., offices. Before that, he served as Cuming County Economic Development Director for five years in Northeast Nebraska.

Garry is a member of the National Rural Economic Developers Association and served as Northeast Development Network Chair. He received his bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Dana College in Blair, Neb., and and his master’s degree in Urban Studies and Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Although his alma mater (Dana College) is no more, Garry was inducted into the Dana College Hall of Fame for Track and Field in 2010. He holds 11 records (most ever in the schools history) and was the first male National Champion for Dana College. Prior to his work in Nebraska, Garry started out as a City Planner, Main Street Manager and Economic Development Specialist in both Florida and in Washington, D.C.

Get Garry’s Book, Unlikely Viking! » 

And be sure to check out more about “Unlikely Viking” on Instagram

 

Bold Voices Student Segment

 Sarah Hotovy, a third-year medical student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) — Listen at 15:47 of Episode 28!

The York, Neb., native is the student regent and student senate president at UNMC.

“The University of Nebraska is an incredible institution. It’s thriving, and it’s got incredible leadership that we’re really lucky to have,” she said.

Sarah hopes to dedicate her career to affordable healthcare access for both rural and urban residents. “I think that everyone deserves access to high-quality medical care,” she said. “If we can keep people healthier, we’re going to be more prosperous as a state,” she continued.

Read the full Bold Voices release! »

 

Show Notes

Coming soon!

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