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Oxford Featured a ‘Secret Sauce’ Community at Heartland Summit

Oxford was showcased as a “Secret Sauce” community at the Heartland Summit. Photo by Matt Nichols

At the 2023 Heartland Summit today, Oxford was showcased as a “Secret Sauce” community, exhibiting a model for towns and cities around the heartland for its focus on growth and vitality, while preserving its unique culture.

Oxford, the smallest community featured this year, was selected for its historic growth and national and even global attention as a rich cultural destination. 

Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill participated in a panel discussion highlighting the ingredients making Oxford thrive.

Moderated by Axios co-founder Mike Allen, the discussion also included representatives from the other two 2023 secret sauce communities – founder and CEO of Lightship Capital Candice Matthews of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Chair of the Greater Omaha Regional Chamber and president and CEO of North End Teleservices, Carmen Tapio of Omaha, Nebraska. 

“The 2023 Heartland Summit is an opportunity to discuss and develop solutions for the unique challenges and opportunities facing the heartland, and it’s always particularly inspiring to hear from those who are seeing success in their own communities. We were honored to have Mayor Robyn Tannehill join us on stage and share insights into Oxford’s growth and vibrant culture,” said Angie Cooper, Executive Director of Heartland Summit and Executive Vice President at Heartland Forward. “We’re thrilled to spotlight Oxford, Mississippi, which is a place that represents the remarkable spirit and potential in the heartland, as one of our secret sauce communities this year.”

The Heartland Summit, the flagship event of think-and-do tank Heartland Forward is a day and a half event in Bentonville for leaders and experts to discuss challenges, create actionable solutions and strengthen connections in the heartland and across the country.

In its third year, the event has brought together approximately 350 policymakers, investors, entrepreneurs, business, philanthropy and thought leaders from various sectors, geographies, and generations to exchange insights on advancing the heartland.

“I’m proud to be a part of the Heartland Summit, an event dedicated to fostering economic growth and reshaping perceptions of our region,” said Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill. “In Oxford, we make a dedicated effort to cherish and preserve our unique cultural heritage, which has played an important role in becoming one of the fastest-growing communities in the state. This is an exciting time for our city, and I’m grateful for the recognition as one of Heartland Forward’s secret sauce communities and the opportunity to share our story and lessons learned with other Heartland leaders!”

Leading one of the fastest-growing communities in the state, Tannehill focuses on proactive planning for the future, development of affordable workforce housing, supporting local businesses and investing in infrastructure.

Tannehill has been recognized for her service and leadership by numerous organizations, including her selection as a NewDEAL Leader – a national group of pro-growth elected officials championing ideas to grow the economy, expand opportunity for all and make government work better.

A video, below, spotlighting the three secret sauce communities, premiered ahead of the panel today.


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