Dallas Innovates 2020 Thought Leaders: Collin County Business Alliance

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Dallas-Fort Worth continues to top the charts as one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the nation. This population surge brings new opportunities, but also new challenges. One of the leaders in convening key stakeholders to address these issues is the Collin County Business Alliance (CCBA). To learn more about the CCBA, we sat down with Sanjiv Yajnik. Sanjiv is Chairman and Founder of the CCBA and is also President of Capital One’s Financial Services Division, which is based in Plano.

Tell us about CCBA.

CCBA was born in 2011, out of the idea that vibrant businesses and vibrant communities go hand in hand. Our alliance includes business leaders who believe we have a responsibility to take action now to ensure that our already successful county has an even brighter future.

What’s at stake?

Collin County is the one of the fastest-growing counties in Texas. 80 people relocate here every day. It’s estimated that our population has exceeded 1 million. This speaks volumes about the amazing opportunities our community offers. But our growth also puts real strains on water resources, education and transportation. These regional issues require regional solutions.

How is CCBA solving these issues?

Our role is to be a convener of businesses, government organizations, educational institutions and non-profits across Collin County. We reach across city lines for the greater good of the entire county. Over the last eight years, we’ve built an ecosystem of problem solvers working together to shape the future.

Can you share an example of how this strategy came to life?

It’s hard to choose just one, but I’m really proud of our #CollinCountyVotes initiative, which was aimed at increasing voter turnout. We wanted to be a source of non-partisan information, inspiring voters to take action. We worked with local Chambers of Commerce to host candidate forums and produce informative content. What differentiated this from other “get out the vote” campaigns was how we worked with businesses, offering tools to engage their employees. This multifaceted partnership yielded fantastic results: A 150% increase in voter turnout for the municipal election compared to 2015, and a 100% increase in the general election compared to 2014. We still have much to do—but this is a formula that works.

Now that we’ve entered an election year, we’re hard at work pulling together comprehensive resources to inform and engage our citizens. This includes details on how and where to vote, what’s on the federal and local ballots, and key dates throughout 2020. We’ll also post videos where candidates share more about their experience and their positions, so that our citizens can be more aware as they head to the polls. It’s all available for free on our #CollinCountyVotes website, with a special page geared toward businesses. If you’re a business leader, I encourage you to leverage these non-partisan resources to help your employees make informed decisions.

What’s next for CCBA?

CCBA will continue to be a catalyst for elevating conversations and problem solving to the regional level. With the 2020 Census, it will become even more critical to partner across city lines to ensure every citizen is counted. For every resident who isn’t counted, we’ll lose $11,610 in funding along with the potential for additional congressional seats. So we’re leveraging our partnership framework to maximize our reach in sharing this message through our #CollinCountyCounts initiative.

Our learnings can be leveraged beyond Collin County. All of Dallas-Fort Worth can benefit from business leaders coming together. 130 businesses have relocated their headquarters here since 2010, and our entire metroplex will experience growing pains. It is critical that we work together to create a flourishing North Texas.

How can business leaders get involved in CCBA?

One of the things that I love about CCBA is that we have a very large tent. There are no membership dues or requirements. Simply join us at one of our events, and you’ll be welcomed as a key partner in working toward our vision: Envisioning Tomorrow, Inspiring Action Today.

The next opportunity to get involved will be on February 13 at our #CollinCountyCounts 2020 Census Workshop. I hope you’ll make plans to join.

A version of this Thought Leaders article was first published in Dallas Innovates 2020: The Magazine.

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It’s a moment for innovation in Dallas-Fort Worth, one that we’ve been working toward for a long time. In Dallas Innovates 2020: The Magazine, we explore the people and companies you need to know in Dallas-Fort Worth. From first-time startups to innovation icons, these are the people and companies driving the future forward.

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