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Challenge to Reinvent

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Nearly 1,100 business and community leaders came together at CenterState CEO's Annual Meeting to embrace "Re:invention," and its impact on the region - past, present, and future.

At the meeting, CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson challenged members to commit to the ongoing success of this region, its businesses, and its people, by engaging directly in reinvention:

  • Export or grow into a new market
  • Develop a new product or service
  • Help a new business get off the ground by investing in the region's new venture fund
  • Mentor an emerging business
  • Train and hire someone through Green Train or Health Train; help lift someone in the community out of poverty
  • Hire an intern via Project-ION, www.project-ion.com
  • Commit to spending at least 10 percent with independent local businesses
  • Make new business connections
  • Advocate for modern and efficient government by supporting the Commission on Local Government Modernization

"Through reinvention, our region is transforming and seeing real progress," said Simpson. "However, there is no resting point in our efforts to build more successful businesses and more prosperous communities. This region will always face new challenges that move the benchmarks of success and how we get there. We each have a role to play that requires we be persistent in our efforts, and committed to our continuous evolution."

Keynote speaker Kevin Warren, president of Xerox Corporation's U.S. Client Operations, spoke of how Xerox's success in mastering the art of change and reinvention has been instrumental in transforming the company from a seller of copiers to a leading business services provider. Warren spoke about reinvention as a process: seeing the challenges, building solutions, executing on them, and committing to success and continuous improvement.

lunch crowd
More than 1,000 members, business leaders and elected officials, gather at the CenterState CEO Annual Meeting at the Oncenter.


"The key to sustainability and growth is being open to reinvention and the opportunities that come with it," said Warren. "Regardless of industry, businesses must be skilled at changing. There is tremendous opportunity with change, but most people associate change with loss because it's a disruption. No one can avoid disruption, but we can choose how to drive change."

Warren's comments ring true for individual businesses and the region's economy as a whole. While persistent challenges remain, the region has not lost sight of its innovation history, and there are notable signs of progress.

lunch crowd

Kevin Warren, president of U.S. Operations, Xerox Corporation, delivers several key messages on change and reinvention during his keynote address:

  • Change is everywhere…and it's not going away. So you have to stay nimble—or get nimble—or someone else is going to take advantage of the opportunities that await.
  • We have to reframe change…and see it as an opportunity. When you do that, you'll get caught up in excitement … and that energy will drive your success.
  • If you want to make change sustainable, you have to think differently to DO differently — and keep on top of that phenomenon all the time … or you'll never reach the place you set out to reach when you framed your strategy.
  • None of us are exempt from disruptive change, and all of us have to keep pace with it.

See the Videos
Watch Rob Simpson and Kevin Warren's remarks; view the Business of the Year Winners and Startup Labs videos; and read CenterState CEO's annual report.

There are more than $1.4 billion in investments taking place across the city of Syracuse; a new $25 million venture fund is in the works to support the region's talented entrepreneurs; and CenterState CEO members are leading the way with capital improvements, new innovations, and job creation.

"What remains, is the most difficult," said Simpson. "Knowing how to reinvent our region is not our challenge. We must not only identify changing trends, but plan and execute on sound strategies with a commitment to building on our progress."

Thank You Annual Meeting Sponsors!