In this era of unprecedented change, citizens expect more of their elected officials. The state of Michigan has been struggling economically for several years, primarily due to the decline in traditional manufacturing. Recent research shows that Michigan is losing its young and talented population. A 2006 CEOs for Cities survey found that two-thirds of college graduates, ages 25-34, look for a place to live first before finding a job. The reality is that we are losing 46 percent of our college grads to other states. We cannot afford the continuation of the brain drain in this increasingly knowledge-based economy. The League believes that communities are at the core of the economic turnaround in this state. It is important to put our collective efforts towards creating a “sense of place” where creative and talented individuals will want to live. We need to search for new and creative ways to improve our economy and become place makers in the new economy. This takes a different kind of leadership skill set to lead your citizens in the 21st century. Change begins at the local level, and through the EOA you can take the challenge to strengthen your leadership skills, as well as your professionalism and competency.