From the Editor: Advancing the discussion

Eric Lyttle

In this same spacesix months ago, I made a New Year's Resolution to our readers, that we would redouble our efforts to provide more explanatory journalism, beef up our restaurant coverage and create a new Home & Style section.

Last month we invited a few other people into that discussion-smart, engaging folks who could provide an insider's look into topics of power, dining and style, and what they mean for the future of Columbus. On May 3, Columbus Monthly hosted a panel discussion at the beautiful Joseph hotel in the Short North, inviting about 200 special guests, including longtime subscribers and civic associates, to join digital marketing pioneer Nancy Kramer of Resource/Ammirati, Alex Fischer, CEO of the Columbus Partnership, Cameron Mitchell of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Tanisha Robinson, founder of the startup Print Syndicate, and Thomas McClure, founder of Fashion Week Columbus, in an examination of what lies ahead.

The discussion, moderated byColumbus Monthly's publisher Ray Paprocki, was wide-ranging and surprising. Kramer highlighted a drastic change in the city's business environment of the past two decades, from "Hunger Games fashion," in which the various factions of power operated only "in their own silos" to today's "culture of collaboration."

Alex Fischer agreed, and said the Partnership was partly responsible. "I told them, 'The problem is in the room. The door is shut.'" He told the members of the most influential group of powerbrokers in the city that there was a whole community outside the board room that was not engaged in their discussions. There were 15 members of the Partnership at the time, Fischer said. Now there are 50.

Robinson discovered that same spirit when she sought advice for launching her startup. "There is not a single business leader in this town that you cannot get an introduction to," she said, adding, "The cool kids give back."

Among the evening's surprises was Cameron Mitchell's assessment of the city's dining scene. On a scale of 1-to-5 forks, Mitchell gave Columbus "maybe 2," but said good things are brewing, including a proposed $30 million, 100,000-square-foot expansion and redevelopment of Columbus State's Culinary Hospitality School.

McClure praised Columbus for its wealth of fashion designers, but said more is needed. "We truly have the potential to be recognized by the world," he said. "But you cannot sustain a fashion industry here without manufacturing."

In the end, the panel agreed that transition is crucial. "I believe our good days are absolutely ahead of us," Fischer said.

We look forward to telling those stories.

On another note, I'd like to welcome Emma Frankart Henterly back to theColumbus Monthly fold. Emma will oversee the content of the magazine's special advertising sections and our sister publication,Columbus Weddings. Emma worked for both magazines between 2010 and 2012 before leaving to become a public information officer with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. We're thrilled she's back.