About Becky McCray & Deb Brown

Hi, I’m Becky McCray from Oklahoma.

And I’m Deb Brown from Iowa.

We believe small towns can be saved — including yours.

About Deb Brown

Deb grew up on a farm outside of Geneva, Iowa, population 141. Her first entrepreneurial venture was raising a hog. You’d find her either with her nose in a history book or out exploring abandoned houses and buildings. Funny, things haven’t changed much, she’s still working on filling empty buildings in small towns.

A wealth of experience includes leading a small town chamber of commerce, foreign casualty insurance underwriting, bartending, retail management, selling knives, and working with small towns. Deb has lived in tiny towns, small towns, small cities and a major metro city. Yet, she’s come home to a small town, Webster City, Iowa, and travels to many others to help. Deb is a relentless optimist and knows how to build possibility in your small town. Better yet, she inspires you to take small steps towards a brighter future for your community.

About Becky McCray

Becky believes small towns have a future. She watches the global trends in the economy, technology and society, then she delivers practical steps rural people can implement right now to shape the future of their town. Her advice is based on her real world experience as a lifelong entrepreneur and cattle rancher.

Becky’s career in small towns includes work as owner of retail stores, as city administrator for a municipality of 990 people, as an executive with rural nonprofits and as a teacher of computer and business classes. In 2004, she ran for state legislature, losing by just one vote per precinct. She believes we learn from both our successes and our failures, even when those failures are printed in the local newspaper. She makes her home in Hopeton, Oklahoma, a town of 30 people. She doesn’t just talk about rural issues; she lives them.

Together, we’re teaching you specific ways to make your small town a better place. We’re creating the videos, courses and toolkits that will help you learn, grow and take action.

Follow us at your favorite places:

You can find us on most any channel using the hashtags #IdeaFriendly #SaveYourTown #BuildingPossiblity and #SmallTownCool (And we love to see you use them, too!)




YouTube: (hint: watch all 3 channels for tips you can use, clipped from our latest videos)

Twitter: (yeah, we’re chatty)

Small towns can best be saved by their own people using their own resources.

Small towns thrive when they set themselves apart. We’ve joined forces to show you practical steps to help you shape a brighter future for your small town.

Change Agents from the Old Way to the New Idea Friendly Way

Old Way behaviors: Formal, few, control, isolated, decide, BIG, failure is bad. 
New Idea Friendly Way behaviors: Informal, crowd, chaos, connected, test, small, failure is valuable. 
Source: SaveYour.Town
Old way New Way Behaviors

You recognize the Old Way of doing things:

  • a formal structure under the control of just a few people
  • who decide for everyone
  • in isolation from others, closed to new ideas,
  • and because it’s so difficult to accomplish anything, best to focus only on BIG projects,
  • and the bigger they are… the harder the fall.

These are the behaviors that developed out of the old formal organizations that have been the backbone of our communities for decades. 

But things are changing rapidly. The future is coming at us fast.

The new Idea Friendly way of behaving looks more like this:

  • informal to the point of being chaotic
  • with everyone, the whole crowd
  • able to try or test any idea we choose.
  • We operate in connection with each other, open to new ideas,
  • lots of small tests,
  • where failure is on a small scale and is valuable feedback on what might work on a bigger scale.

This is the behavior that makes the Idea Friendly Method work, the way to be a meaningful part of our local community without all the bureaucracy. 

It’s a challenge to convert to the Idea Friendly way. There’s a lot of us somewhere in the middle. Doing things the old way, and trying out a few things in the Idea Friendly way.

Our goal at SaveYour.Town is to help you effectively transition to the new Idea Friendly way.

We will be your Change Agents. We are not the experts on small towns; we are the experts FOR small towns, including yours. You’ll hear lots of stories of small towns doing things the new way. It’s going to feel weird and strange, and yet somehow right.

You’ll slip back into the old way once and awhile (I know I did! -Deb). You’ll find out people you thought were in the future track are really a part of the committee of negativity. You’ll find people in your crowd who you never expected to be there.

Why are we called Save Your Town? Because that is what you are going to do, save your town. No one is coming to do it for you.

No factory or big business is going to save you. No outside expert has the one right answer. It’s you.

You are going to shift a few key behaviors away from bureaucracy and officials and toward the people. You’ll let go of old formal rules and organizations in order to empower everyone to play a small but meaningful role. You’ll focus more on tiny experiments by lots of people rather than a few big bets made by only a handful of official leaders.

You’ll welcome all ideas, from all the people in your town. You’re becoming Idea Friendly.

That’s who’s coming to save your town: all of you.

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