April 9-10 | Philadelphia, PA

Young Smart and Local: A talent network organized by
Stay tuned for Young Smart and Local 2021 in Greensboro, NC and join our LinkedIn group for the latest updates.


Across the nation, cities are realizing that talent will drive their ability to grow.

Small, mid-size, and large metropolitan areas have developed different strategies for building their talent pipelines: from focusing on college access and completion to engaging and retaining students studying at local institutions.

Young, Smart and Local was a two-day conference designed to inform and engage leaders from higher education, business, government, economic development, and community organizations on best practices around talent growth and attraction.

Campus Philly, the nationally-known talent retention initiative in Philadelphia, and Action Greensboro, national-model for collaborative philanthropic investment in economic development, hosted this conference in Philadelphia on April 9 & 10, 2019.

Keynote addresses and break-out sessions focused on:
  • City as campus: strategies and tactics to leverage city assets as part of college students’ educational experience
  • Best practices for connecting college talent to job opportunity in your region
  • National trends and forecasts regarding talent development, alignment and retention
  • Benchmarking and measuring the impact of talent retention
  • Diversity and equity in growing cities
  • Building partnerships and infrastructure among higher education, employers and economic development organizations to drive talent growth


Representatives from cities and metro regions that are committed to talent growth.

The conference attracted:
  • Human resource and recruiting leads from major employers
  • Economic development professionals from city, state and local governments and NGOs
  • Higher education leaders
  • Chamber of commerce leaders focused on talent and business growth
  • Destination marketing leaders who focus on attracting new businesses to a region
Cities that attended include:
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Detroit, MI
  • Hastings, NE
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Mobile, AL
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Quebec City, QC
  • Richmond, VA
  • Santa Rosa, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Wichita, KS


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

11:00 am

Optional morning pre-conference walking tour in Philadelphia hosted by CIC

NOON – 2:00 pm

Conference check-in

2:00 – 3:00 pm

Welcome & Steal This Idea

Brief lightning talks from cities showcasing a successful initiative, kicking off the conference with inspiring stories from across the country.

Welcome by: Cecelia Thompson, Action Greensboro and Deborah Diamond, Campus Philly

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Marshall Anthony, PeopleJoy
  • Jenna Grasley, J.P. Morgan Chase
  • Sarah McGuire, Action Greensboro
  • President Ali Houshmand, Rowan University
3:00 – 3:30 pm

Networking break

3:30 – 4:15 pm

Meet Your Match

Facilitated conversations for cities at different stages of talent initiative development. Talk with others just considering starting a talent retention program; those who are new to launching an initiative; or cities with full-fledged programs underway.
4:45 – 7:00 pm

Mayor’s Reception
presented by Saxbys

Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia joins other mayors including Mayor Nancy Vaughan of Greensboro, NC and Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond, VA in discussing college student engagement as a growth strategy for their cities. Panel will be moderated by Lucas Grindley, Next City.

7:00 pm

Dinner on your own or with conference guests

A small number of reservations have been made at some of Philadelphia’s best restaurants, close to the conference location and hotel. Conference attendees will be able to sign up for these spots upon arriving at the conference.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

8:00 am

Breakfast and networking

9:00 – 9:50 am

Breakout Sessions

Measuring and Benchmarking Talent Retention
Moderated by: Jill Bergman, McKinsey
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Ben Christensen, Handshake
  • Lee Huang, Econsult Solutions Inc.
  • Josh Wright, EMSI
Removing Search Friction: How to Connect On-campus Talent With Employers and Opportunity
Moderated by: Lizzy Tahsuda, Campus Greensboro
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Michelle Ahn, Campus Philly
  • Amir Badr, Upkey
  • Casey Welch, Tallo
How Talent Drives Infrastructure Development and Place-making
Moderated by: Natalie Kostelni, Philadelphia Business Journal
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Ben Donsky, Biederman Redevelopment Group
  • Bob Geolas, HR&A
  • George Smith, U3Advisors
10:00 – 10:50 am

Breakout Sessions

Growth and Equity: How Driving Economic Growth Impacts Equity and Inclusion
Moderated by: Andrew Moore, Institute for Youth Education and Families, National League of Cities
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Alan Berube, Brookings Institution
  • Lee Nunery II, The ITEM
  • Ashley Putnam, Federal Reserve of Philadelphia
Workplace Learning and Success Skills Development as a Tool for Upward Economic Mobility
Moderated by: Sarah Miller, CAEL (Council for Adult and Experiential Learning)
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Shayne Evans, The Academy Group
  • Kate Mulvey, USLI
  • Jean Rattigan-Rohr, PhD, Elon University Odyssey Scholars
Falling in Love With Place: What Helps Students Feel Attached
Moderated by: Rachel Burgess, SIR
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Jenny Jang, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
  • Brittnie Knight, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • Sharon Mickens, University of Pittsburgh
10:50 – 11:15 am

Networking break

11:15am – NOON

Breakout Sessions

Cities as Campus: How Educators and Economic Developers Leverage Location for Talent
Moderated by: Rebecca Gehman, Development Counsellors International
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Jewel Cash, Boston University Summer
  • Calista Cleary, Tri-College Philly Program
  • Peter Frosch, GREATER MSP (Minneapolis-Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership)
  • Evie Poitevent Sanders, Greater New Orleans, Inc.
Organizational Infrastructure for Talent Retention Strategies
Moderated by: Sheila Ireland, Office of Workforce Development, City of Philadelphia
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Kirsten Brinlee, Collegetown Baltimore
  • Deborah Diamond, Campus Philly
  • Cecelia Thompson, Action Greensboro
Internship Programs as Retention Strategies
Moderated by: Matthew Brink, NACE
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Jamie Stamey, Davidson College
  • Lizzy Tahsuda, Action Greensboro
  • Nicole Wormley, Danaher
NOON – 2:00pm
Melody Warnick

Lunch and Closing Keynote

Melody Warnick, author of This is Where You Belong, Finding Home Wherever You Are








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