Michael Held

Michael Held is the Director of Rural Economic and Policy Services for Rural Development Initiatives.  For over ten years, he has worked across Appalachia and the Northwest bringing his passion for rural places and people to the dynamic challenges facing rural communities and businesses, and he’s happy to continue this work as RDI’s Director of Rural Economic and Policy Services. Michael is a graduate of West Virginia University and the University of Oregon, where he received a BS in Social Work and an MA in Public Administration, respectfully. His eclectic experience includes spearheading a multi-million dollar infrastructure project, implementing innovative natural resource strategies, and successfully guiding dozens of locally organized economic vitality projects and programs. His areas of specialization include small business development, downtown revitalization, and placemaking strategies. In Michael’s free time, you’ll find him in the woods, on a river, or enthusiastically supporting the Northwest craft beverage industry.



Michael’s Tuesday Session:

Building Rural Community Leadership Skills

Rural communities are facing more complex situations than ever before and doing so with fewer assets and less connectivity than their urban counterparts. Building new and advanced skills gives rural people and those who work on behalf of rural places, the tools needed to lead rural communities forward. This all-day Rural Skill Builder workshop will give you tools and ideas to be a bold, courageous and savvy leader in complex situations. Don’t miss the opportunity to gain new skills and network with other rural leaders in our region. Topics will include:

Systems Leadership in Rural Communities – Situations today have never been more complex, larger in scale, or more interconnected. Traditional leadership principles are excellent for community-based projects and efforts, but how do we affect critical challenges that are systemic in nature? Learn about the mindsets, processes, and skill sets that comprise systems leadership – the leadership of our era.

Emerging Rural Economies, Building on Assets – Rural communities often have distinct opportunities that can be seized to spur economic growth. We will help attendees identify, harness and leverage economic assets to build local control and advance economic prosperity, including bottom-up grassroots strategies that all rural community leaders can participate in to boost the local economy.

Bringing Out the Best in People at their Worst – Often, we face the challenge of working with difficult people, and sometimes we are the difficult ones! This interactive session will explore strategies for bringing out the best in people by building on strengths and recognizing that sometimes values and approaches may not align. The session will be structured around lessons from the popular book “Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst.”

Presented by:
Heidi Khokhar, Executive Director, Rural Development Initiatives
Michael Held. Director of Rural Economic and Policy Services. Rural Development Initiatives