Recent Talks and Workshops

woman on theater stage in front of audience Della Rucker giving the keynote for Washington Main Street in the Mount Baker Theater, Bellingham.


Della Rucker has given more than 100 presentations over the past 5 years, and no two presentations are exactly alike.  Recent topics have included the following:

Plenary / Keynote Presentations

Welcome to the future: four sleeper trends that are transforming your local economy (if you don’t mess then up).

This engaging talk helps people of all walks of life who care about communities gain a new insight on the forces that are re-shaping their society and their economy.  By tracing the implications of deep trends in how people live, buy, get information and relate to each other, we discover new opportunities that look nothing like the old ones, and we get ready to capitalize on those changes, instead of being swamped by them.

Ten Ways to Help your Small Business/Startup Economy right now

This very practical talk puts a finger on the barriers that keep local small businesses and startups from thriving, and it identifies ten low-cost ways to tap the power of the community to enable healthy businesses and a community of people to support them.  Fun, optimistic and practical.


Nothing grows unless you feed it: How to foster a healthy, vibrant and economically strong small business community.

This 2-4 hour workshop, designed for city and nonprofit organization leaders and staff, addresses the reasons why growing a healthy small business community is so hard, and provides a new approach and a new set of tools for enabling entrepreneurship and empowering business owners.  Hands-on training with take-home materials.

Disabling the Axe-Grinders: Managing and Re-formatting your public meetings to eliminate bad behavior (and make everyone else happy).

This workshop gives city and nonprofit staff the skills no one teaches them: how to manage a contentious meeting or town hall session so that everyone has a positive and constructive experience — even when some people don’t want it to go that way.  Using a combination of training/discussion and role playing, we explore hands-on tactics for defusing confrontation and creating a fair environment for everyone.  We also examine the methods that good teachers use to get constructive participation out of a rambunctious classroom of students and learn how to apply those strategies to make better public engagement.  Informative and fun — who wouldn’t want to pretend to be the axe-grinder once in a while?

How to Make Friends — and make peace – with your Local Government

This presentation or workshop gives entrepreneurs, startup wizards, small business owners and grassroots community leaders the [erspective and strategies they need to overcome the “Us vs. Them” that so often derails their great ideas and good intentions.  After examining the different responsibilities that government people have, and how those often hamstring their inclination to help, we walk through a strategy for uncovering hidden barriers, finding common ground and building meaningful collaboration.