Reimagining Equitable & Prosperous Communities… & Then Making Them (with Jordan Davis)

How do you do something that’s never been done before?

It’s a difficult question to answer, no matter what problem you’re trying to solve, but Jordan Davis has managed to pull it off over and over again:

Jordan was instrumental in Columbus becoming the sole winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation Smart Cities Challenge in 2016; she played a founding role as director of Smart Columbus for the Columbus Partnership, leading strategy and partnerships for deploying emerging technologies to improve people’s lives in cities; she’s overseeing one of the country’s first self-driving vehicle deployments, representing $720M of aligned investment, breaking world records for EV education, and leading the Midwest in market growth; and she incepted Can’t Stop Columbus, the grassroots innovation movement responding to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19 that has attracted over 600 virtual volunteers and launched over 30 projects in 12 different issue areas of the community.

And that only counts her never-before-done accomplishments after graduating college!

Jordan also went through a unique and traumatic adolescent experience that helped shape her perspective and instilled in her a drive that very few people have: for every year from 9th grade to sophomore year in college, she lost someone important to her. It was incredibly traumatic, but coming together with her community gave her much-needed support — and it taught her that all you need to solve a problem is community buy-in and support.

What Brett asks:

  • [08:15] How did growing up surrounded by unconditional love help shape your life?
  • [14:50] From 9th grade to sophomore year in college, you lost someone important to you every year?
  • [18:45] When experiencing tragedy as a kid, did you allow yourself to feel it or were you spiritually bypassing?
  • [22:33] Tell me more about the experience of distrusting faith after being raised religiously
  • [33:10] How do you get such a clear vision of what needs to happen and then actually make it happen when what you’re trying to do hasn’t been done before?
  • [39:30] How difficult is it to get people on board to make things happen that have never happened before, especially as a young woman?
  • [45:17] Let’s talk about the Columbus Partnership and Smart Columbus
  • [56:55] What does the future look like for Jordan?
  • [59:15] Tell us a little bit about Can’t Stop CBUS

Lessons for intentional living:

  • We don’t all need to go through significant trauma to do what Jordan does. If anything, Jordan has shown us that no one person needs to take a new initiative onto their own shoulders — the power to truly innovate and solve problems is in the collective. Getting the ball rolling does, however, require leadership with the willingness to bring people together and start conversations.