Focus: Activation, Economic Opportunity, Education, Innovation, Storytelling, Sustainability
Dr. Beckett and Daryn Dodson are social innovators working to revitalize Williamson, West Virginia. In a conversation facilitated by Free Range Partner Randall Ussery, Beckett and Dodson discuss the importance of driving innovation alongside community members, gleaning from experiences in New Orleans, West Virginia, and scalable to communities beyond.
Dr. Beckett shares insight on Williamson Health & Wellness’ model and how they dropped hemoglobin a1c levels by a staggering 2.2%. Dodson shares perspective on innovation and talent in rural communities and what’s frequently missing in community development initiatives. While coal will always be part of West Virginia’s economy, Dr. Beckett explains, there is ample opportunity to diversify the economy.
About Williamson, West Virginia
Williamson was once a thriving community and retail center known for being the “Heart of the Billion Dollar Coalfield” just outside of Charleston, WV on the Kentucky border. As the coal industry has declined, so has Williamson. Today, it is one of the poorest communities in the U.S., plagued by mass unemployment, obesity, diabetes, addiction and a declining population.
In 2016, Dr. Beckett invited Dodson and the Impact Experience team to convene social innovators from across the country, along with local community members, to reimagine Williamson’s future. The outcomes of the Learning Journey focus on health improvement, economic development and entrepreneurship in the community.
About Dr. Beckett
Dr. Beckett is a Williamson, WV native and the CEO & Medical Director of Williamson Health & Wellness Center. The Center is dedicated to building a culture of health and stimulating a thriving local economy centered around community wellness. Through his leadership both as public servant and as an entrepreneur, Dr. Beckett has guided and personally invested in the rejuvenation of Williamson’s city center. His work has been recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, PBS News Hour, and recently by NHRA as 2017 Rural Health Practitioner of the Year.
About Daryn Dodson
Daryn Dodson is a Partner at Impact Experience, and passionate advocate of social and economic justice, especially for voiceless marginalized groups. His work with impact investing, advising private equity funds, Fortune 100 companies, universities and foundations is undertaken with the lens of addressing the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems. Dodson currently serves on the board of directors for Ben & Jerry’s, Impact HUB DC, and Vice Chair of Heifer Foundation Board. He is also President of the Stanford Business Alumni DC Chapter.