RDA Director Appears in TEDx Danville

By: Diana Schwartz

This article originally appeared in the Virginia Main Street Blog on December 7, 2020. 

Diana Schwartz, Executive Director of the River District Association (RDA), appeared at the recent TEDx Danville event that took place on November 10, 2020. For those unaware, TEDx serves as a grassroots initiative, bringing the spirit of TED to local communities. These events are organized by passionate individuals, seeking to uncover new ideas and share the latest research in their local areas to spark meaningful conversations. In Danville, local leaders gathered to discuss how the “Milltown without a Mill” transformed into an All-American city.

Focusing on what she knows best, Schwartz discussed the value of entrepreneurship and the importance of positioning Danville’s historic River District to take advantage of future growth opportunities that will enhance the quality of life downtown for a variety of stakeholders. Audiences were made aware of Danville’s local Virginia Main Street (VMS) program and how RDA has utilized the Main Street Approach to establish an entrepreneurial ecosystem that has aided downtown revitalization and helped small businesses thrive. While many issues can knock communities down, Schwartz believes all things are possible through Main Street!

“Being invited to speak at TEDx Danville was definitely a bucket list item! I have been a fan of TED talks for a very long time, and I was thrilled to see it come to Danville.” – Diana Schwartz, Executive Director, RDA

Apart from Diana Schwartz, other speakers included Corrie Teague Bobe (left), Director of Economic Development for the city of Danville, and Willie Scott (right), Founder and CEO of the Wendell Scott Foundation. Bobe emphasized the power of strong public and private partnerships, sharing how such collaboration can create impactful change and inspire a positive outlook for the future. On a similar note, Scott spoke to the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and the overall economic benefit it can have on the greater region by helping at-risk, underserved youth. All speakers at TEDx Danville emphasized that Danville’s broader community and economic development efforts have been successful by taking a collaborative approach.

“We’re hoping that person in Europe that hasn’t heard of Danville will see it and they take interest in the city. We hope that the stories of collaboration will start to have each of these nonprofits and organizations in the city saying ‘let’s work together.'” – Justin Ferrell, Co-Chair, TEDx Danville