Consider this a living document as it will expand based on feedback and input.
Who am I?
My name is Anand Thaker. My family and I are now a three-year resident of Johns Creek. I’ve lived in various cities and attended schools in the great state of Georgia for over 30 years. As an engineer turned modern marketer, I have an eclectic history in a variety of industries – energy, finance, marketing. Also with firms from startups to fortune 500. My latest endeavors have been in marketing technology and elevating metro-Atlanta’s entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem.
Also, I believe in investing some time helping the local community, whether it’s working with my hands to strategically thinking through complex big-picture challenges like this one. Lately, I have been thinking through economic development and shaping the future of JC from a view of both our residential and business communities.
Sounds like you’re talking about businesses, but what about the residents?
This is all about the residents. I’m not trying to be flippant. The common theme of well-being, quality of life and resilience in Johns Creek is far too hard to ignore. When I talk about investing in or to double-down on our strengths, this health and wellness theme fits well into who we are and want to be as a community. We all embody this no matter our age, background or profession/passion.
Why are you doing this?
First and foremost, I believe our city still needs and deserves a focus and aspiration that can put us on the map for creating, contributing, and collaborating rather than only consumption. Why? Cities of our population who ignore this irreparably weaken its base for its residents. The key is finding the right fit for our community to support our strengths.
Next, I guess I can’t help it. Believing and investing in people, I enjoy thinking through the complexities of community building and planning. It’s rewarding to see dots connect, momentum take hold and ideas come to life. Of course, I also have a 20-year plan of my own (aka planting roots). So, both the desire and long-term goals seem to align well together.
Early on, I learned that the local political process matters more than people realize. A successful community is driven by those who can invest time at and beyond the ballot box. I always wish I could do more and wish my voice was always heard. While it doesn’t always happen, I’m okay with that…. and I’ll do what I can. Also, no, I have no political ambitions. I’m happy to leave it to more interested folks who can grow and further represent JC and GA in greater capacities.
In Johns Creek, we have so much untapped local talent. We tend to underestimate how much we can make an impact. I hope others will find time to engage and participate. It’s not that hard, isn’t what you might think, and believe it or not, you can make a real impact.
Are you benefiting from this?
Absolutely. My family and I have enjoyed the experience and lifestyle in Johns Creek. I’ve connected with so many wonderful generous and thoughtful people. I look forward to when I take my little man to the top schools in the country. If this help can contribute in some way to building a resilient Johns Creek, then heck yeah, I hope to continue to inherit those kinds of benefits to make this home. I wish for our collective efforts increase engagement, raise our property values and make optimal use of tax revenue.
Why only healthcare innovation and wellness?
Healthcare innovation and wellness, or the top 10 aspiration, is just a starting focal point. Focus, purpose, and passion provide a place to start, an anchor from where to begin. This is what helps us collectively build momentum. That momentum I kept hearing about Johns Creek seem to revolve around resilience and well-being. Health and wellness requires long-term and impactful thinking. Sure, we would always encourage and support other industries and do so while still maintaining our DNA as a community.
As I have come to learn about the history of Johns Creek, it was formed quickly with three to four similar but still different kinds of communities incorporated in the mix. The common thread is that it’s an active community. Couple this with the various conversations, meetings, and groups led me to think about health and wellness as an option.
Lastly, in planning and economic development, we always talk about being competitive, whether it’s with neighboring municipalities or on a larger geographic scope. I always ask competitive ‘for what?’ Trending is extremely useful, but a copy/paste approach rarely is successful if we are unsure or unclear about ourselves. I’m betting that healthcare, wellness, and well-being are something where JC can ‘compete’ and differentiate and collaborate among ourselves in the community. Having something unique affords us interesting opportunities to collaborate with neighboring municipalities and organizations across GA, US or even internationally.
Why haven’t other groups come up with this?
I believe they made the industry some part of thier plans, however I’m proposing this is a priority, focal point and collectively put a stake in the ground. That’s what I’m doing here. Aiming to be a top city for healthcare innovation and wellness speaks to both commercial and residential. Again, Johns Creek current vision speaks to how we consume (education, living, eating, etc.), however, we have still yet come up with something that speaks to how we collectively create or collaborate.
Have you ever had a conversation where you were given advice about something already rolling around in your head? Well, community building, economic development, branding and identity creation can be a lot like that. It’s a natural process. There are many good folks pulling together good research. Each step builds on itself until the dots are connected and a big picture forms.
The list of organizations in the “tribes” section are examples of how many folks can play a part in health and wellness among other things. In my experiences, finding something where many of us all have a possibility to contribute strengthens a city.
Who’s responsible for the vision of Johns Creek?
You, me, your fellow neighbors, the council, and the various organizations working to better our community. It’s whatever bubbles to the top. I’m taking a cut at giving us something tangible to chew on.
I don’t agree with your proposal.
That’s cool. While a recent revelation, my proposal comes from spending lots of time on this for over 3 years now. Nearly every conversation, question, and research have been through the lens of thinking about who we are as a community. Does that mean my proposal better than yours? No way!
Not everyone has a great idea, but great ideas can come from anyone. So, if you have one, then not only would I appreciate your sending me a note, but I encourage you to put together your proposal and get it out there.
What are some of the areas of health and wellness we would consider?
Some of the areas in health and wellness can include: BioTech, Informatics, Pharma, Sciences, Treatment, Insurance, Research, Public Health, nutrition, physical mental and spiritual etc…
Other Supporting Industries could be: Technology, Sciences, Insurance, Agriculture, Filming, etc…
Have other ideas? Let me hear them!
What do we care about in JC?
I feel we are active, resilient, diverse, connected, spiritual, seasoned and intelligent. Also, we care about family, education, well-being, quality and full-cycle of living. Seems health and wellness transcend these attributes about us regardless of age, background, and economic status.
How can I help?
If you like the idea, please share it with others, email, social media, in-person, whatever. If you have any suggestions on this proposal or how you would like to help, please send me a note.
For now, I’m simply putting this out there. If you like it or want to share, feel free. The more eyes on it, the more likely we’ll know if this is best for us or not. I’m just an engaged citizen who happens to be interested in this and had some time to spend on it. While I’m not in wellness or healthcare, my conclusion is that we have a strength in it and have been dancing around it.
While I would like to see more people engage in the process, all the city planning being done is still extremely necessary. This proposed theme of Healthcare places a very important overall context and lens that has been missing from the conversation.
My goal is for our council to collectively adopt the Healthcare theme and/or Top 10 aspiration for the city. My proposal was inspired by various research, people and organizations in the city and so should it be a collective win and ownership for the city and its residents. I’ll be happy to work with others to continue the conversation as it develops.