Adapting to COVID-19 crisis, Radically Rural goes remote

By Sentinel Staff

The struggles facing communities dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on personal lives, jobs and businesses are well documented. With this in mind, the organizers of Radically Rural, the summit that showcases ideas of importance to small cities and towns, will stage its event this year on one day and exclusively online.

Radically Rural: Remote will feature six programming tracks on Sept. 24, focusing on key sectors of importance to rural America: Main streets, entrepreneurship, community journalism, arts and culture, land and communities, and clean energy.

“The momentum of this essential event the last two years is something we don’t want to see interrupted,” said Mary Ann Kristiansen, co-founder of Radically Rural and executive director of the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship. “And with all that we are going through now, the experts we will bring together can be of great help navigating these times.”

“We don’t know where we will be as a country in September, when we host this event. But we do know that because so many things are different now, Radically Rural is even more meaningful,” said co-founder Terrence Williams, president of The Keene Sentinel. “We’ll stage it in a way that is appropriate and safe for these times.”

Radically Rural will encompass 20 sessions and more than 60 speakers. The event will be held using webinar software with the opportunity for attendees from across the country to watch and join through a chat function. Each session will have support staff assisting speakers and serving attendees, with the goal of creating lively, interactive programming. The sessions will be taped for distribution to attendees following the event.

The price for the one-day event is $59 for a single attendee; rates for group attendance will be established soon.

“So many of us, these days, are used to working remotely and accustomed to video conferencing,” Kristiansen said. “We think this platform will be one that folks will find useful and mostly seamless.”

Keynote speakers, both experts on rural issues, have been lined up.

Becky McCray, an international speaker on rural economic matters and co-founder of Save Your Town, will be the opening speaker. McCray also runs the website Small Biz Survival and is a rancher in Oklahoma. John Molinaro, president and CEO of Appalachian Partnership Inc., will give closing remarks. Molinaro heads API, which is a business-led nonprofit working to increase business impact on the economic vitality of Appalachian Ohio.

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