From the Talent 2.0 Steering Committee: The Power of Community

October 27, 2021

By Adam Crowe

Editor’s note:  Adam Crowe’s day job is economic development manager for the Larimer County Economic and Workforce Development Department. He builds relationships with local business leaders in order to collaborate and offer solutions to workforce needs. Adam joined the Larimer County Workforce Center in 2004, and has supported the invention and re-invention of a variety of services including Colorado Youth Wins, internships, wage reimbursement (OJT), incumbent worker training and other services offered by Larimer County Workforce Center.

My family has no idea what I do for work.

In fact, this has become one of our most common dinner table topics for many years. The discussions usually start with a question of how my day was, and a few sentences into my reply I start hearing “I don’t understand,” “that makes no sense” or “That’s nice.”

My partner teases me by saying that when I talk about a project at work, all she can hear is the teacher’s voice from Charlie Brown, “Wa wawa wahh…” Picking up on the sentiment, our youngest kid has become convinced that I was trained by the CIA to describe my job in a way that keeps people from remembering what I’ve said. Which, of course, is meant to protect my true identity as a deep-cover clandestine international agent. If you’ve ever met me, it’s very obvious that I’d make a horrible secret agent. I’ve never met a stranger and I have a profound inability to blend in. These two traits alone would guarantee a disastrous career with the CIA.

It took me many years to realize that this good-natured ribbing from my family has a lot more to do with our community than my “super-secret” job. When I travel to other parts of the country and meet new people at a social event, most discussions start with the obligatory “What do you do?” As we all know, most people asking this question are looking for an easy conversation starter and are only mildly interested in the actual answer.

However, in Northern Colorado I’m very rarely asked what I do for a living by people I meet. Instead, we bond over what we do outside work, often focusing on our families and how we are involved with a community group or local cause. I’m not exactly sure why these are the topics we discuss with new friends, but my best guess is that we’re searching for people who have a similar sense of purpose. Family is an easy topic to start with because we all want a happy and healthy family, but it’s interesting how quickly we gravitate to discussions about community involvement.

Although, this shouldn’t surprise me because Northern Colorado towns and cities are regularly featured on lists of the top cities of where to live, raise a family, or start a business. A community doesn’t receive these accolades and rise to the top without residents who rally together and work hard to overcome challenges and focus on improvement

Our community certainly has its share of issues, and with the pandemic every community in the world has been given a whole lot more to overcome. I’m proud to live in a place where we recognize our challenges and are surrounded by people whose first response is to roll-up their sleeves to get involved.

Anyone new to Northern Colorado will quickly understand that purposeful community engagement is our way of life. Having raised our family here, it’s easy to forgive them for not knowing the details of my job because they’re more focused on connecting with people who have a shared purpose.

While my family may not know what I do for work, they know the power of community and that we all play a key role in maintaining Northern Colorado as one of the best places to work and live.

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