Exploring Cbus.. Business Leadership in Action
What springs to mind when you hear “Columbus, Ohio?” State Capital? Home to The Ohio State University? Anything else? That’s about all I knew before I started researching this city for our upcoming Intercommunity Leadership Visit. While the information and data pulled from the internet provided a glimpse into this community, visiting it last week provide an entirely different perspective. Columbus leadership has a mindset to create bold visions, align resource and organizations around those visions and ensure that they are successfully executed.
Columbus is a home to some very strong corporations and business leaders. Most people don’t realize it, but only Los Angeles and New York have more folks engaged in the fashion design industry than Columbus. Columbus is the 1# metro in the US for fashion apparel headquarters. Les Wexner, the 81 year old titan of the fashion industry, still calls Columbus home. His L Brands firm includes the flagship brands of Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, and Pink. His company also created such brand names as: Lane Bryant, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lerner, The Limited and Express. In addition to this august leader, Columbus is also home to the Schottenstein family, known for creation of Big Lots!, American Eagle, DSW, etc..
In addition to leaders in the fashion/retail industry, Columbus is home to Nationwide Insurance, Honda North American HQ and manufacturing plant, JP Morgan Chase (20,000+ employees), Cardinal Health, American Electric Power and a slew of financial services back office operations centers. Other well-known firms headquartered in Columbus include: White Castle, Bob Evans, etc.
Columbus has developed a depth of business leaders that is the envy of many other metros.
How does Columbus engage these business leaders?
The Columbus Partnership was founded in 2002 as a 501(c)(3) of CEOs of Columbus’ leading businesses and institutions, with only 8 members. It has grown to about 75 members. The primary purpose of the organization is to act as a thought leader, strategically considering how to position the community for the future. They are a convening organization actively engaged in smart mobility, public policy, education, leadership development, philanthropy, arts and culture and downtown development.
What impact has the Partnership had on Columbus?
In 2010, the Partnership explored how they addressed economic development in their 11-county Central Ohio region. This led to the creation of Columbus 2020, one of the most successful economic development strategies and organizations in the country. In 2016, Columbus beat out 77 cities across the U.S. to win the $50 million Smart Cities Grant. Smart Columbus, through a partnership with the City of Columbus, the Columbus Partnership, The Ohio State University, American Electric Power and many others, is working to make Columbus the leader in mobility innovation.
Interested in coming with us when we return to Columbus on September 23?