Becky McCray presenting the opening keynote for the North Carolina Rural Conference.
Becky McCray presenting the opening keynote for the North Carolina Rural Conference.

Using my real-world perspective as a small business owner, I deliver concrete take-aways that you can use today to shape the future of your town without getting beaten down by circumstances or others’ negativity. Audiences feel energized and hopeful because they know how they can make a difference in their community starting now despite everything going on in the world.

You get down-to-earth advice based on my experience as a life-long rural entrepreneur and cattle rancher, including the “get your hands dirty” aspects that others gloss over.

My programs on my Idea Friendly method, rural trends, downtowns, economic development and community development have given practical ideas to audiences at over 300 events. Rural and small town conferences, economic development organizations, councils of government and chambers of commerce in the US, UK, Canada and Australia have chosen me to boost optimism, change thinking and unleash immediate action.

My signature topic: The Idea Friendly Method

The Idea Friendly Method: Open Up to New Ideas

You don’t have to know all the answers. You just have to be open to new ideas. Today you can put your ideas into action with less overhead, less drag and more meaningful participation by more people. It’s designed specifically for small towns and rural communities to strengthen community ties and overcome old-way thinking. Say goodbye to endless meetings, old way thinking, and conflict, and say hello to actionable steps to bring your ideas to life! Learn three practical ways the research-backed Idea Friendly method will help you improve the climate for new ideas and position your small town to thrive, no matter what the future brings. By the end of this session, you’ll have specific actions to take tailored to your own idea and your own town.

This topic shakes up old approaches so we can better adapt to the future. Audiences leave feeling measurably more optimistic (16.8% more optimistic in one survey) because they see exactly how they can shape a better future for their town.

Rural and Small Town Topics

Choose from these interactive and practical topics packed with straightforward advice that can be put into action immediately. All are updated to address the economic uncertainty of today and the strain our communities are under. Any of these can be a remote session, an in-person keynote, a breakout session, or a workshop.

Overcoming Divisiveness and Building Unified Communities

Small towns naturally feel like close communities, right? Ugh, more like a hive of anger and division! Conflicting goals. Fighting factions. Political polarization. Generation gaps. Race, ethnicity and class cliques. No one tells you how to overcome divisions like these!

This session will show you practical steps and simple ideas that pull people together. Tweak your projects to reach across divides. Improve group coordination beyond silos. Rally everyone around local small businesses. Learn how to apply this to your own work: Bring people together across groups, give everyone a small but meaningful role, and create experiences that change people’s thinking.

This topic generates a lot of conversations and is perfect for interactive workshops.

Expand Economic Opportunity with the Innovative Rural Business Models

Rural business people are trying a variety of different business models today, including pop-ups, shared buildings, businesses inside of other businesses, and more. Entrepreneurs are using these smaller-scale experiments and tests to learn what works before making a huge investment. You’ll get idea after idea from how these smaller-scale business models are being used right now in small towns.

Not only are entrepreneurs interested in these potential models, but local leaders also can put them to work spurring new business development and supporting economic mobility and fuller participation in the local economy.

Finding More Volunteers: Beyond the same ten people who try to do it all now

Small towns run on volunteer power, but finding volunteers has turned into a major challenge. How do we get more people excited about it rather than burning out the same 10 people over and over again? The secret to finding volunteers in small towns today is to let go of old ways that no longer serve us. Discover things you don’t have to do anymore, and new Idea Friendly ways that will attract more new volunteers.

Real problems from rural communities are covered, including ways to make volunteer training a benefit instead of a hurdle and ways to tap the experience of older volunteers without being caught in inflexibility.

After Your Event

People often say they wish more people from their town could have heard these presentations. They won’t be left hanging with this special video follow-up, designed to spread the enthusiasm and action to even more people.

Any audience member can sign up to access a 30 minute video featuring Becky McCray and her SaveYour.Town Co-founder Deb Brown. They can share the video throughout their town, and they’ll get weekly email newsletters to reinforce the important concepts and generate more discussion locally. There’s no charge, and it adds value for your attendees.

Becky McCray and colleague Deb Brown present a follow up video

See what they’re saying

Other Speaking Options

Visit Your Town

Turn a visit from me into change for your town

We get out and walk through your downtown to all work together on practical steps you can use right now.

Virtual Speaking

Virtual speaking on Rural and small town development

Running a virtual event? Tap my experience presenting dynamic and engaging remote session

Emcee & Hosting

Video Thumbnail

Host, moderator, emcee to liven up your event

I love live sessions! Keeping discussion flowing, managing lightning presentation rounds, wrangling a rowdy audience