Duane O’Neill, president the past 12 years of the MetroJackson Chamber of Commerce, has worked with mayors in nine cities including Jackson.
In that time, O’Neill has seen vision-inspired leaders quarterback their cities to success. And those mayors possess common traits, he said.
“They must be a strong leader and a great salesman for their community. But they’ve got to, at the same time, have the ability to work with all leaders in and around their community because today’s success is all about partnerships. So, it takes somebody to forge those partnerships,” O’Neill said.
“If a person has strong integrity and is an action-oriented person, then people will be drawn to work with them and support them even when sometimes they’re not on the same page on every issue,” he said.
Overall, economic development leaders need to know the mayor is supportive of their efforts and is willing to affect governmental change to encourage development. And that takes communication, a strong stance on the issues and a willingness to try a little harder than the next person, officials said.