Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, GLI

Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc., says GLI’s mission is to support the growth of businesses in Louisville, and the surrounding counties. We spoke with Davasher-Wisdom about GLI’s specific goals around achieving that mission.

One of the goals in GLI’s strategic plan is to drive innovation and ideation in the city. Why is that important?

Davasher-Wisdom: Innovation is imperative to keeping our city on par with current trends and taking us to the next level. As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a unique opportunity to overturn the status quo and reinvent the way we do things in our city and business community. That means that innovation must be at the forefront of everything we do. Many of our neighboring regions are outpacing our growth, so we must make intentional and strategic steps to position Greater Louisville for a strong and sustainable economic future.

What actions are you implementing in order to achieve that goal?

Davasher-Wisdom: As part of the Now Louisville strategic plan, we identified a series of actions and steps to foster an innovative ecosystem in Greater Louisville. In partnership with organizations in our community we will focus on driving more research activity into the region that is aligned with industry needs.

As a convenor of the business sector, GLI supports key industries in our region through the work of our three networks that focus on the most important sectors of Louisville’s economy:

TechFirst—A formalized tech structure that congregates technology business leaders to support, inform, and develop meaningful growth initiatives within the region’s technology industry.

Health Enterprises Network—A healthcare business network whose mission is to champion and foster the growth of the Greater Louisville Region’s health care economy.

Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics Network—Members of this network can build collaborative relationships with industry peers and discuss best practices and share innovative ideas.

These networks bring together leading businesses in each industry to create synergy and brainstorm solutions and forward-thinking ideas to create an environment that is conducive to continued growth. While GLI is leading this effort on behalf of the business community, it takes commitment from our organizations and individuals at every level to make innovation a staple of Greater Louisville’s economy. We are continuing to expand these networks to ensure the businesses of today can pave the way for the businesses of the future.

What results do you hope to see? How will you know if the plan is working?

Davasher-Wisdom: We hope to see a more collaborative and forward-thinking business ecosystem and ultimately build a national reputation for innovation that will help us attract top businesses and talent. We will measure our progress through the growth of core industries and our economy. It is our hope that the entire regional business community joins us in this work to create an environment that breeds ingenuity and innovation.