Economic relationships between urban and rural communities within regions have never been more important as we navigate the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) for a national summit on developing strategies to promote growth, equity and resilience through economic connectivity. The event will include the release of critical new research, discussions with key practitioners and policy leaders, and opportunities to engage on strategy development. Urban and rural leaders, policymakers and practitioners looking to strengthen economic opportunity, industry and equity in their communities and regions will not want to miss this event. 



  • Clarence Anthony, CEO and Executive Director, National League of Cities

Opening Keynote: Aligning Connectivity with Federal Economic Development Priorities

  • Craig Buerstatte, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Regional Affairs, U.S. Economic Development Administration 

Presentation: Factors Driving Regional Economic Connectivity

  • Christiana K. McFarland, PhD, NLC Research Director

Panel: Strategies to Promote Connectivity 

  • Christiana K. McFarland, PhD, NLC Research Director
  • Roberto Gallardo, Director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development and Purdue Extension Community & Regional Economics Specialist
  • Robin Barnes, Principal, Resilience Solutions 
  • Gynii Gilliam, President, Jobs Plus Inc., Coeur d’Alene, ID 
  • Mark Hodge, Mayor, Village of Hopkins Park, IL


Fireside Chat: Making Equity Central to Economic Connectivity and Development Strategies 

  • Katrina Badger, Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • William J. (Bill) Bynum, CEO, Hope Credit Union Enterprise Corporation 

Closing Keynote: Reflections on Economic Connectivity to Bridge the Urban-Rural Divide

  • Stephen Moret, CEO, Virginia Economic Development Partnership 

Highlights of the Day

  • Nathan Ohle, CEO, Rural Community Assistance Partnership