Baton Rouge Area business and community leaders will make their tenth trip in 2018 to reflect upon important policy issues facing the Capital Region and learn how the destination region, Cincinnati, Ohio, addresses similar matters. The Regional Canvas Benchmarking Workshop is an effort by BRAC in conjunction with the Office of Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Sharon Weston Broome. Business leaders from the Capital Region and surrounding areas are expected to participate.

Registration will close on Friday, April 20.

Event Details

The Regional Canvas Benchmarking Workshop will be held May 20 – 22, 2018, in Cincinnati Ohio.


$2,350 per person, which includes all transportation, lodging and meals. Registration will close on Friday, April 20.


Located right in the heart of Downtown Cincinnati, AC Hotel Cincinnati at The Banks is an Award Winning Marriott hotel next door to everything in Cincinnati. AC Hotels by Marriott hotels reflect the souls of the cities in which they reside. They offer a unique combination of quality, timeless European design, comfort and true authenticity. It’s a whole new way to travel.

Charter Flight

Canvas participants will travel to Cincinnati via a private charter flight. The flight will depart from the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport the morning of Sunday, May 20 and arrive back in Baton Rouge the evening of Tuesday, May 22. Checked luggage is included.

Agenda & Speakers

Check back frequently for speaker updates.

Kick off Canvas at the Great American Ball Park and watch the Cincinnati Reds take on the Chicago Cubs. This opening event will feature a welcome by Cincinnati civic leaders and dedicated networking time.

Focusing on The Health Collaborative’s mission of healthier people, better care, and lower costs, this session will focus on data-driven collaboration among health systems, medical providers, and business partners.

Cincinnati’s business community is the city’s primary driver of transformational change. Panelists will discuss the leadership of the Cincinnati Business Committee and Cincinnati Regional Business Committee, which devote their talent, time, and treasure to improving the city.

The Over-the-Rhine district is Cincinnati’s most famous redevelopment story. The historic neighborhood has been intentionally transformed over the past decade and is now a hub of vibrant activity, attracting businesses and talent alike. This walking tour will take participants through Over-the-Rhine to experience the renaissance in person.

Featuring the stories of the nationally-renowned redevelopment in Over-the-Rhine and the creation of the hub of technical entrepreneurialism in the Greater Cincinnati Area, this session will focus on talent attraction and retention via quality of place and entrepreneurialism initiatives.

Exceptional redevelopment in Cincinnati is not confined to Over-the-Rhine. Impactful, incremental, neighborhood-driven, and inclusive redevelopment is happening throughout the city. This high-quality placemaking focuses on neighborhood revitalization, industrial revitalization, and financial inclusion.

Cincinnati has a growing ecosystem of initiatives supporting economic inclusion, from minority business startups, ownership, and growth to valuing and supporting diverse workforces in existing businesses. This session will showcase some of these exceptional programs and results.

This session will feature a keynote by Mel Gravely. Mel Gravely is the CEO of Triversity Construction, the former Chairman of the Cincinnati Regional Chamber of Commerce, a member of the board of REDI Cincinnati, a member of the Cincinnati Regional Business Committee, the founder of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking, and the author of eight books, including When Black and White Make Green.

From arts-oriented youth training, to holistic workforce development for people in poverty, to a company investing in former felons as an employee base, Cincinnati has a broad base of innovative education and workforce solutions that address the needs of business and industry and provide greater opportunities for many of the city’s most vulnerable people.

By mobilizing and sponsoring the compassion and ideas of people, non-profits in Cincinnati are both envisioning and funding the city’s future. This session will dive into traditional and non-traditional models of community development, both of which aim to find new solutions to old problems.

About Cincinnati

Cincinnati is the third largest city in Ohio and the 25th largest city in the United States by metropolitan population. Long known as the “Queen City,” for its ideal situation at the peak of the Ohio River and its rich culture and heritage, a predominantly German population settled Cincinnati in the late 1700s. Much of its architecture is reminiscent of the beauty of Western Europe and the gilded Art Deco styles of the early twentieth century. Today, the city is renowned for experiencing a remarkable renaissance that packs significant energy, progress and vibrancy in a compact Midwest city center. Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies call this unique city home along with ambitious entrepreneurs and passionate artists.

Why Cincinnati

From the story of redevelopment in Over-the-Rhine to its strong ecosystem for entrepreneurs, Cincinnati has become a national best practice in many of the areas of BRAC’s five year strategic plan. Session topics during Canvas will include:

  • Quality of place and redevelopment
  • Innovative workforce initiatives
  • Diversity and inclusion in business
  • Entrepreneurship and startups
  • Creative community investment

Cincinnati is also an ideal choice because of its similarities to the Capital Region in terms of city demographics, complimentary regional industries and clusters. While the city of Cincinnati is slightly larger than that of Baton Rouge – just over 297,000 residents to around 230,000 – a number of other factors are quite similar. Issues of diversity and inclusion rise to the top for both cities, as 60 percent of the city of Baton Rouge is made up of people of color, while Cincinnati breaks down closer to 50/50. Residential education levels are also similar, with high school graduation rates of just over 85 percent, and bachelor’s degree or greater of 32 to 33 percent. Education, workforce, and inclusiveness are areas in which Baton Rouge can learn from Cincinnati.

In addition, Cincinnati has experienced incredible growth in target diversification industries, such as custom computer programming. While Baton Rouge has experienced solid 24 percent growth in the industry over the last five years, Cincinnati has seen a 52 percent increase over the same time frame. Their success recruiting companies and solving workforce issues in the sector through training and talent attraction could prove to be valuable lessons for the Capital Region.

Host Committee

A dedicated group of business leaders volunteer to serve as a Host Committee for each Canvas trip.

Cheri Ausberry, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center
Rex Cabaniss, WHLC Architecture

Host Committee
Ric Kearny, Capital One Bank
Monique Scott-Spaulding, Jani-King of Baton Rouge
John Spain, Baton Rouge Area Foundation
Edgardo Tenreiro, Baton Rouge General
Chris Tyson, EBR Redevelopment Authority
Rae Vasquez, Jones Walker


More sponsorship opportunities are available and listed in BRAC’s sponsorship prospectus.