Steve Price of Marble Falls, the former chief human resources officer for Dell Inc., spoke on the issue of trust to about 45 people attending the Highland Lakes Crisis Network’s Trust Initiative meeting Feb. 15. Staff photo by Brigid Cooley
About 45 people attended the first public meeting of the Highland Lakes Crisis Network’s Trust Initiative on Tuesday, Feb. 15, in Marble Falls.
The three-hour meeting served as a conversation between facilitators and attendees about how the Crisis Network and other interested entities can take action toward fostering trust within the Highland Lakes through a community-wide vision.
“The whole point of today is to get community leaders and people who are smart in the same room together and start talking about how we could take a very big concept of community vision and turn it into some practical action items,” explained Highland Lakes Crisis Network Executive Director Kevin Naumann during his opening comments. “This is more about hearing and less about preaching.”
Network board members began working toward a trust-centered initiative in 2020, seeing a need for stronger community relationships after national political and social unrest related to the pandemic and racial inequality highlighted divisions locally. In November 2021, they began expanding on the idea by asking local governing entities to adopt a trust-centered resolution.
The initiative’s goal is “to maintain and strengthen our community culture while building trusting relationships by knowing, listening, and caring for each other,” according to a draft purpose statement.
“I want you to know that (the Highland Lakes Crisis Network) is a group of churches, so that skews our viewpoint on this,” Naumann continued. “At some point during this conversation, this has to transfer from a Highland Lakes Crisis Network thing to a community thing. At some point, we want to start talking about what it looks like to carry this momentum forward where it’s not about any one organization or group or city.”
The Feb. 15 meeting was the first public forum in which community members could provide feedback. Event facilitators included Naumann, MFISD Superintendent Chris Allen, Marble Falls Fire Rescue Chief Russell Sander, Crisis Network board members Bob Rogers, Alan Williams, Jackie English, and Stennis Shotts, and RT Phillips, men’s pastor at Life Austin and co-founder of CORE.
Attendees gathered in the Marble Falls Independent School District Community Room for light refreshments and a talk on trust by Steve Price, a Marble Falls resident and former chief human resources officer for Dell Inc. Participants were then divided into breakout sessions in which they jotted down feedback to help determine what makes the Highland Lakes an ideal place to live, potential threats to its “culture,” and how to build trust-based relationships within the community.
Feedback was sorted by event facilitators into common recurring themes. Positive themes included the community’s willingness to help one another and how the area is viewed as a faith-centered community, while potential threats included significant growth within the area and political and social divides.
Facilitators will use the community input from the meeting to inform their next steps for the initiative, which include creating an operating plan and taking concrete steps toward facilitating additional community discussions, Price said.
“The followup to this would be a session with this working group, whereby we go over all of this again and each of these leaders can talk more specifically about this group and what popped up in more detail,” he explained.