2012 Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange Heads to Toronto: Applications Online February 6 through March 15

Every other year, the Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange takes flight to explore new regions and new ideas. This summer, the Exchange will make its first ever international visit to Toronto, one of North America's most international cities and the heart of an area similar to Greater Philadelphia in size, complexity, and tendency. Applications will be accepted online through March 15, 2012.

The Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange is an initiative of the Economy League to develop leaders of business, civic, and government organizations into visionaries dedicated to making Greater Philadelphia aworld class region. Through in-region programming and out-of-region learning visits, the Leadership Exchange exposes leaders to best practices, forges new connections across sectors and industries, and deepens participants’ understanding of Greater Philadelphia’s potential.

Through a program of knowledgeable and engaging speakers and panelists as well as site visits, Exchange participants will explore the evolution of Toronto as an international center and global hotspot. Participants will meet those working to maximize Toronto's assets and make sure that as global competition increases, it remains a world class place to live and to visit.

Topics to be explored include:

  • Waterfront: Like Philadelphia, there's a major highway cutting off downtown from the water, a patchwork of property ownership, brownfields, and politics -- as well as some good to great achievements. We'll hear from those active in design, planning, real estate, and placemaking.
  • Immigration: 49% of Toronto's residents are foreign-born. (Contrast to 10% in this region.) In a region that's growing by 100,000 annually, new residents can strengthen the economy with their skills and international connections. How are Toronto's organizations capitalizing on this influx? How does such a diverse population create "community"?
  • Arts: As Canada's capital of culture, there's everything you'd expect, plus a great emphasis on creating and sustaining community through the arts. We'll meet people and see sites to tell the story.
  • Mobility: Toronto's transportation landscape is familiar: sprawling suburbs, crushing rush hours, an aging transit infrastructure no longer reflective of current commuters' needs. A new umbrella organization, Metrolinx, was created to improve transportation. We'll do a status check.
  • Toronto's Face to the World: Toronto, too, attempted an Olympic bid. It later regrouped and won the 2015 PanAm Games. The arts also have put Toronto on the global map -- film, in particular, due to the Toronto International Film Festival. Were these successes spearheaded intentionally by invested parties in the region? Or was their development organic? We'll talk with those involved.

Past participants say that after program content, the great value of the Leadership Exchange is having the opportunity to connect with fellow Philadelphians from a range of sectors, industries, generations, and ethnicities. When you return home with an iPad or notepad full of ideas, you'll have a new cohort of partners to work with.

Applications will be accepted online starting February 6 through March 15, 2012. To be eligible to apply, you must live and/or work in the Greater Philadelphia region (which includes counties in southern New Jersey and New Castle County in northern Delaware) and serve in a leadership role in a business, civic, or government organization.