Why Create 2K15?
One of my hugest frustrations this year has been that I will be unable to attend the 2015 Create West Virginia conference.
I interned with Create this past summer, writing for the 2015 magazine and helping brainstorm ideas for the organization’s upcoming “innovation internship program.” I began my time there with a sense of trepidation, feeling slightly lost in the midst of a web of entrepreneurship and marketing terms that my historian self had never heard of before. Once I developed a common language with my coworkers, though, I was able to competently discuss what the future of West Virginia might look like, in terms of both economic and community development. Furthermore, through a summer of trials, tribulations, re-scheduled interviews, and conference calls, it has become very evident to me why Create West Virginia is so special.
The Create West Virginia conference is revolutionary in its dedication to establishing a common ground, language, and physical space to engage “crunchy” artisans, established marketing experts and executives, and everyone in between with ideas about the innovation economy’s place in the Mountain State. This year in Fayetteville, people from all over West Virginia will get together and talk about their hopes and dreams, hopefully leaving with concrete action steps to supplement the work of past Create West Virginia projects like the Princeton Renaissance Project and Create Huntington.
Of particular interest to me is that all West Virginians (new and old, just starting out or lifelong advocates, pre-college or post-retirement) are invited, regardless of race, class, creed, sexuality, gender identity, age, education level, or political affiliation. As a young person, I have often felt that my opinion is less valued in professional situations because of my perceived lack of experience. At Create West Virginia, though, my youth is a valuable asset that supplements the creation of a future West Virginia where people my age would like to live.
The Create West Virginia conference is truly a time when we can get together, surrender our pride, admit that we don’t know everything, and then fill our gaps with the wealth of others’ collective experiences. This year, participants will have the opportunity to learn about everything from the state of West Virginia’s broken juvenile justice system to how to build an Internet of Things - at Create West Virginia, we want to ensure that no idea falls through the cracks, and that our visions for the future of West Virginia are multidimensional rather than a straight line.
When I tell people about Create West Virginia at my small liberal arts women’s college in Massachusetts, they are genuinely shocked. Earlier this week, I passed around the magazine that our staff and I worked so hard to put together - each and every person I showed it to had a different favorite article (of particular interest was Crystal Good’s campaign for social media senator), and some people still pop up to ask me questions about this project or that. My professors have expressed interest in learning more about Create and the way it organizes in West Virginia, and my employer at Wellesley has been fascinated by many of the ideas we share through social media. The Create West Virginia conference is a weekend too nationally unique and special to miss - I hope you don’t miss out.