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Boss. Factors, funding, facing truths. Amid all the wackiness surrounding us, rational thinking endures. New discoveries and realizations amplify the reason that abides in a productive executive suite. Reason? You know it when you see it, so honor your instincts.

Inspiration. Colliding innovation, getting ahead, finding solidarity. Life feels hard right now. But to one way of thinking, taking on the challenges will get us to better places of productivity and contribution.

Flying the world. Viking warriors, leadership potential, earned autonomy. To fly through this planet often requires sacrifice, which itself indicates the capacity for long-term thinking and for channeling ambition to serve a vision. This is our generation’s moment to propel the world forward, by including people with energy, intestinal fortitude, and talent. And turning them loose.

Rural Virginia. Big Tech’s role, energy’s legacy, reinventing news. It is a national conversation: how the infrastructure spend can serve Americans who choose to live a life in rural regions, by strengthening and even rebuilding local economies. Some answers are emerging. And so are many experiments. Virginia is turning into a lab on several fronts, not the least of which is how true stories are daylighted and told.

Trigiani: Kismet and Virginia’s Great Southwest. Cardinal News, September 23 2021. McKinsey & Co. partners Erik Roth and Laura Furstenthal study innovation. They have distilled,  into a pretty basic formula, what it takes to get real results from any investment in innovation. And while their focus is the corporate setting, the formula stands out as relevant to public sector  investment.

A Call for Renaissance. Mary Trigiani’s speech to the Leading Tomorrow Summit, June 2021.

Unsung heroes. Transforming organizations, taking pictures, defending the lagoon. September 23 2021. Every day, every one of us bears witness to the intellect and the accomplishments of unsung heroes. As we deal with our modern-day plague – and I hope, make a renaissance of our own – we can derive much joy from our companions on the journey who innovate and produce, in the shadows and behind the scenes.

Hurry. Consistent leading, humane augmenting, better socializing. September 22 2021. It is super easy to blame the new kid on the block – whether it’s a person or a technology or a company – when negative things surface. More often than not, though, new players merely daylight things we might have been denying. As C. Northcote Parkinson said, “delay is the deadliest form of denial”. Renaissance thinkers hurry. They not only embrace the new, they welcome the data and they promote the truth.

Healing. Under pressure, with entrepreneurs, over cookies of joy. September 21 2021. Roughly three centuries ahead of the Italian Renaissance, Hildegard of Bingen was defying labels. She truly had a sense of self, the starting point of contribution, which also served as a sort of armor against challenges, silly and significant. And she knew that cookies help to fortify us as we seek solutions and opportunities.

Off the bench. Brand-new careers, employee retention, experienced workers. September 16 2021. From the earliest days of working, I have avoided labels such as “young” or “old”. (As well as a whole bunch of other ones, frankly.) There were times when being young was a liability and being older meant irrelevance. Labels just do not matter, unless we use them about ourselves to tell our stories in ways that forge connections and establish parity – not to assert dominance or to put others in convenient compartments, locking them out. We must get back to making the story about the work we do, because – especially in business settings – all that should matter is one’s ability to perform and to contribute to the stated objectives. Renaissance is on the other side of that door.

Intricate. The customer experience, energy as we know it, thoroughbreds. September 15 2021. Economic development is, for some, the game of redistributing taxpayer money and sustaining agencies for that purpose – without reporting ROI back to taxpayers or marking real progress. When it’s done right, however, economic development is an intricate process of modeling businesses, vetting partners, and building bridges – so that people can find jobs, prosper, and enjoy life. This shift in definition is a condition of today’s renaissance. And I believe Virginia’s Great Southwest will show the way.

What’s smart. Partnership, breakthroughs, a fresh look at expertise. September 14 2021. We are all looking for light these days. How fortunate we are to have the tools to find and share information that propels us to new levels of thought and action. In a renaissance, a society converts distress into progress.

Let’s extrapolate. Austin, attrition v. attraction, the tears of the sun. September 9 2021. Real economic development delivers a return on the taxpayers’ investment in the form of companies creating jobs that produce more tax revenue and, hypothetically, more ability to protect shared public infrastructure. How to get there, rurally speaking: consider that areas like Appalachia possess some of the same challenges minority workers face – access, equity, image – and the same strategic calls to action companies must answer – comprehensive employee health, fairness, balance. The path to true economic development is revealing itself. Renaissance ahead.

Finding things. Buzzwords, advisors, ancient structures. September 8 2021. It’s essential to stay on top of new terms and concepts. However, we should use them only if we understand their meaning and if they are of true significance. As a former consultant, I know there is often a thin line between jargon and an innovative thought. Fact-based communication is essential to innovation. And renaissance. Especially when it comes to the taxpayers’ investment.

How to spend taxpayer money. Examples from Virginia, cluster strategy, the value proposition. September 7 2021. Renaissance – as a call to action, not just an era – has held my interest since my days as a student in Rome. (Maybe it’s hardwired into my DNA😁) Since my re-entry into Virginia five years ago, I’ve been speaking and writing about what makes a renaissance while studying what others are researching and reporting about how to keep America’s economic spend focused and legitimate. Conclusion: our renaissance must create wealth, not merely redistribute it.

Trigiani: Innovators are helping Southwest Virginia forge a new business identity. September 5 2021. Guest editorial by Mary Trigiani for THE ROANOKE TIMES.

Playing games. Political awareness, boardroom lessons, theory. September 2 2021. When we endure disappointments and enjoy triumphs, if we do it right, we recognize that it’s more than doors and windows opening to a next phase. What we have is an opportunity for an individual renaissance that can radiate to the others around us. Of course, it never hurts to use every experience to get savvy – or to celebrate the fact that you already are.

Rescue. Skills, dynamic talent, hiding Cupid. September 1 2021. We are in a collective state of overwhelm – and if you research it, the word has been used, ironically, as a noun since 1596 – so the workplace is an appropriate lab for testing ways to create a better reality. Hiding the ideas and contributions of others is rarely the path to innovation, though. Today I’m hoping our renaissance doesn’t force the producers to retreat, only to be validated 350 years later.

The changing universe. Telescopes, landscapes, plans. August 31 2021. Tellers of truth often encounter the most resistance of all. Across history, disruption begins when someone observes there is a better way, or a new thought, or a breakthrough discovery. In our renaissance, we must be vigilant to those who promote disruption, i.e. progress, but, in reality, do everything they can to maintain the status quo and the power structures they understand.

Heritage. Egyptian pyramids, Anglo Saxon queens, American suffragists. August 26 2021. History is our story to tell – not just to preserve. A renaissance amplifies the truth of the human experience and bears witness not to repeating mistakes or sustaining them or positioning them as worthy heritage. In a renaissance, we advance.

The good life. Rich, lies, mastery. August 25 2021. I am all for expanding our definition of wealth – beyond the realms of finance and influence. Our renaissance must change the game. We must design a new perspective on what constitutes true value.

Cognition. Nuanced perspective, owning the weight, dark hours. August 24 2021. The scholarship on decisions is abundant. Driven greatly by the work sponsored in the world’s business schools, from psychology to case analysis, we learn that sound decisions come from open minds and even open hearts. In a renaissance, we decide to optimize the worst as well as the best.

The test of time. Stonehenge, spirits, heroes. August 18 2021. Indestructible is a worthy characteristic of products and services in a business, and it might even be a good goal for developing intestinal fortitude in a person. We just have to realize that there is disruption, and even a little destruction, on the way to a renaissance.

Vectors and vaccines. Honey and mead. Emblems and sculptures. August 18 2021. It’s funny how etiquette became a way to level the playing field, the theory being that if all people can perform to the same standard, they might have the same opportunity. We still have a long way to go. But if it had been left to the barons, serfs would never have had a chance to take a seat at the table. In any renaissance.

Choosy. Reading, community v. audience, attention span. August 17 2021. We all are stretched. Choosing where we put our attention is not only personally rewarding, it’s professionally productive. Renaissance players value thinking, not reacting, and connecting, not bloviating.

First person. Scapegoats, innovation coaches, board members. August 12 2021. The desire to succeed is something we pretty much all share. It just manifests individually. Power and control remain in the sights of some, but as we learned in one renaissance, the lasting elements of success often reveal themselves from unexpected corners of society. This is what we must hold dear in our own renaissance.

Drop the clutter. Images, scripts, optics. August 11 2021. The acronym “PR” has outlived its usefulness. I know a lot of communications professionals stand by “public relations” as a functional title or activity, but it’s time to move on to better descriptors. Positioning, public affairs, media relations. In a renaissance, you de-clutter by forging a transition from terms that reek of -isms. All via proper grammar, of course.

Markers. Norton and inclusion, founders and expertise, strategy and uncertainty. August 10 2021. The Italian Renaissance covered a period of roughly 400 years and included both ongoing bouts with plagues and extraordinary accomplishments. Virginia’s coalfields present an intriguing parallel. Their enduring legacy of fairness from many corners, despite what many might think, offers a lesson to today’s investors and strategists alike.

Indispensable. Money, tech companies, the Sistine Chapel. August 5 2021. Things change all the time, so it is always good practice to determine what is indispensable in an organization. Because they are results oriented, renaissance thinkers and doers remain open to altering what they think is essential and acting accordingly.

A dent in the universe. Intention, adaptability, common sense. August 4 2021. Did Steve Jobs ever ponder the Renaissance? Whether or not he did, he clearly understood what it takes and wound up encouraging a generation to ask questions and challenge things.

Distilled. Metaverse, true power, respect in football. August 3 2021. As our world continues to expand – to enter another renaissance – some will be tempted to contract, in fear, competitiveness, scarcity. Best to tap the best in ourselves: curiosity, collaboration, abundance.

Microenterprise. Orchestration, new creation, progress. July 29 2021. In a renaissance, building institutions is not nearly as important as clearing paths to products, prosperity and fairness. We are learning that sometimes the most effective agencies disband once their work is done.

Disruption. Hiring, hypotheses, the alphabet. July 28 2021. At the same time we are using tools invented thousands of years ago, we are tasked with disrupting practices that, if they ever worked, are way past their due dates. Making a renaissance requires wisdom.

Gilded. High wealth, blessed investors, cursed diamonds. July 27 2021. The question, debate, and ultimately, call to action in making a renaissance: are we creating wealth or merely redistributing it?

A Renaissance for Southwest Virginia. By Robbie Harris. July 23 2021. Interview of Mary Trigiani for WVTF, Virginia’s Public Radio.

Gimmicks. The better bank, the right documents, the smell of fuel. July 22 2021. Gimmicks may have worked in burlesque (See “Gypsy” by Sondheim, “You gotta have a gimmick If you wanna have a chance”, etc.) but in most businesses, they can be trouble. Especially if the audience is being deliberately tricked. A company does not grow via spin or stunt and neither does a renaissance.

Endurance. Jazz, architecture, leadership. July 21 2021. Things swirl during a renaissance and it can be so satisfying to hang on and create, whatever the challenges.

Sketch. Math, Wingdings, Van Gogh. July 16 2021. All innovators must be welcomed on the scene. Even and especially the mathematicians, who are often the overlooked artists in a renaissance.

Electric. Beethoven, Alma Thomas, Digger Phelps. July 15 2021. Feeling inspired by the individuals in today’s stories, because they demonstrate the importance of the unconventional in life. Renaissance-makers stick out their necks. With gusto.

Women in Public Affairs to Know: Mary Trigiani July 6 2021. This interview is part of a series on “Women in Public Affairs to Know,” by the McGuireWoods Consulting Women in Public Affairs initiative. To learn more about the initiative or recommend a woman for a future interview, please visit the McGuireWoods Consulting website. The interview was conducted by Michele Satterlund, senior vice president on McGuireWoods Consulting’s Virginia State Government Relations team and Margaret Rockwell, assistant vice president on McGuireWoods Consulting’s Infrastructure and Economic Development team.

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