Clarence Anthony speaks at the 2012 Michigan Municipal League Convention.

MACKINAC ISLAND, Michigan - Clarence Anthony, Mayor for the lakeside city of South Bay, Florida, is President, Anthony Government Solutions, Inc. Despite being mayor for a relatively small community, he has also emerged as a city leader of national and international standing. Mayor Anthony's accolades include the Ebony Magazine Future Leader, Outstanding Young Men in America and Outstanding Community Leaders in America awards, as well as the Florida Junior Chamber of Commerce Mayor of the Year. However, it was with his election as 75th president of the National League of Cities for 1999 (only the second from a small city) that his arrival as a city leader on the national stage arrived. This was later augmented with his 2007 election as treasurer and first vice president of the United Cities and Local Governments organization.

Anthony talked about growing up in a small town in Florida, opening his speech with an inspiring poem about "being told it can't be done--and I did it." That starting point led Anthony's audience through a powerful, inspiring and often humorous narrative of how Anthony became a strong leader with an awareness of the world around him and what could and should be learned from it.

"The easy part is getting elected. Being educated to govern properly: that's the hard part," Anthony told his audience as he explained how first the Florida League of Cities and then the National League of Cities provided him with resources, educational opportunities and lobbying advocacy to accomplish goals at home in his own small town. He has gone on to visit over 30 countries in the last 10 years, learning from their best practices and sharing his own knowledge to enrich both. Many in the audience chuckled with recognition when he talked of city officials who might be opening their agenda packet for the first time when they walk into the council chambers for a meeting, instead of being prepared withthe  knowledge and information to get things done.

There are four pillars to learning global and leading local, he said: a willingness to learn, self-cultural awareness, inclusiveness and the ability to share and work together.

Anthony's speech was an uplifting and inspiring start to the TED-style speeches that followed on civic engagement, arts and culture as an economic driver, and sustainable community design.

FacebookTwitterLinkedInDel.icio.usDigg It!