On Friday, May 29, 2015, MSNT hosted their first-ever Regional Summit titled "The Power of Collaboration", in Lackawanna, NY. The Regional Summit was a unique opportunity for the Mobile Safety-Net Team to bring together their wide array of partners from across Erie and Niagara Counties. The partners invited to participate are actively involved in one, or many, of the Mobile Safety-Net Team’s community coalitions, and/or specialize in a focal regional issue. Attendees at the MSNT Regional Summit were stakeholders from nonprofit, business, government, education, and faith arenas.
The goal of the MSNT Regional Summit was to provide the opportunity for stakeholders across the Western New York region to join together in one location to share information about the key regional issues impacting individuals, families, and communities, and share best practices and strategies to address these high-priority issues within their community coalitions, while providing networking opportunities to expand their connection-base.
The MSNT Regional Summit opened with keynote speaker, Dr. Albert Dirschberger, the newly appointed Commissioner of Erie County Department of Social Services. Dr. Dirschberger enthusiastically spoke about the future of the Department of Social Services, which is to embrace collaboration, partnerships, solution-focused trauma informed care, and community based services. Following Dr. Dirschberger’s message, four panel discussions focusing on regional issues followed to round out the day: Collective Impact, Housing, Transportation, and Workforce Development, respectively. Panelists provided attendees with information on the topic area, sharing insight from their particular position, agency, and community. Best practices were also shared, as well as potential strategies for addressing regional issues on a community-based level, with the continued emphasis on the vital nature of collaboration. During the panel discussions, attendees in the audience were encouraged to ask questions, as well as share their own perspectives, opinions, and strategies. What resulted was an energized conversation, filled with an abundance of information and action steps from the panelist members and audience members alike.
At the conclusion of the day, a brief survey was electronically distributed to attendees, in an effort to thoroughly evaluate the event, and in turn, improve subsequent Regional Summits. The majority of attendees took the time to take the survey, which resulted in an impressive 72% response rate.
Based on the survey responses, it is clear that the goal of the Summit was obtained in the eyes of many attendees, as evidenced by over 90% of respondents agreeing that the Summit improved their working knowledge of key social issues affecting the region, and more than 78% of respondents agreeing that the information garnered from the Summit could be directly applied to their community coalition.
In terms of the most beneficial aspect of the Summit, nearly 30% indicated that it was knowledge sharing. In addition, valuable feedback was received regarding future Summits. The consensus among survey respondents was that the following five topics should be focused on in greater detail at upcoming Summits: knowledge sharing, transportation, workforce development, youth engagement, and educational/vocational training.
The fact that many reported that knowledge sharing was the most advantageous element of the Summit, and many also cited knowledge sharing as an important future topic, it is apparent that holding regularly scheduled Regional Summits would be a useful addition to the Mobile Safety-Net Team’s programming, as a way of convening a variety of diverse stakeholders to further strengthen and expand the knowledge base of those working and residing in the Western New York region.
To see more photos of the event, go to our Facebook album.
You can view video clips of the Summit below: