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©2020 by Collaborative Development Collective.

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Known as visionary problem-solvers and catalysts for cultivating community change, we've seen first-hand that the most significant needs in cities and the greatest challenges in communities can best be met with a collaborative spirit. Driven by an innovative and inclusive engagement style, inspired by open and transparent processes, committed to purpose and vision, strategic and data-driven in our decision making, believers in collective resource sharing, and all in for economic and cultural cross-sector connectivity, Collaborative Development Collective uses collective impact principles to reach new heights. We are passionate public service veterans known for building consensus, empowering those around us, developing authentic relations, cultivating capacity, and driving diverse engagement. We take ownership, deliver results, and capitalize on innovation to meet our clients’ needs.

Collaborative Development Collective is uniquely positioned to be your partner, cheerleader, ringleader, and community champion. We have a vast network of colleagues who are experts in their field, if we don’t have the vision to help you reach your goals, we know someone who does. Having been in the trenches and catalyzed community, organizational, and cultural change time and time again, we know what it takes and who needs to be at the table to define success, expand your reach, and bring home the win. Our passionate focus and purpose-driven commitment to those in our care are contagious. By highlighting and capitalizing on existing assets and identifying abundant thinking opportunities we empower communities, districts, and organizations to ditch the scarcity mindsets and embrace much-needed change. Diversity, empathy, and sustainability drive our decision making. We’ve seen the decisions made on front porches, corner stores, main streets, shopping malls, city halls, courthouses, high rises and coffee shops across the country change the course of community history-all it takes is one conversation at a time.

Our purpose is to break down silos and create consensus that cultivates community change.

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Communities are facing unprecedented challenges.  

We must collaborate for collective impact. 

 W.A.N.E.O We All Need Each Other 


The time to forget what we think we know and do differently is upon us. We don't know exactly what our places will look like pos -Covid-19 but what we do know is that we have to work smarter and harder than we ever have before. We have to consolidate resources, combine purposes, and challenge the status quo. The level of change we need right now in community development demands courage. We are ready to help your community stand together and rise to the occasion. We are visionary problem solvers dedicated to helping destinations, downtowns, business associations, development entities, and local governments lead the revolution to shape community development for the next generation.



No two communities, small businesses, or organizations are alike. While we wholeheartedly encourage R&D (that's the Main Street term for Rip-off and Duplicate), we understand that our mission is to meet the unique needs of everyone who engages with us. We would be failing our purpose if we didn't understand your unique perspective before offering strategies to deliver the results you deserve. We always custom tailor our scopes and engagements to deliver the most significant impact for our clients.  

We don't pretend to know what you need, but we can work together to understand your stakeholder's diverse challenges and provide inclusive strategies for your success. We are expert generalists with deep and committed partnerships across the community, destination, government, and development worlds. 

If we are not best suited to tackle what's keeping you up at night, we know someone who is. 

Contact us for a free consultation to see how we can collaborate and engage for impact.

Here are some of our Current Services & Projects that are near and dear to our hearts: 

  • Crisis Communication

  • Community Recovery Planning Development Organizational Consolidation

  • Keynote & Motivational Speaking

  • Customer Experience Training

  • Collective Impact Implementation

  • Commercial District Collaborations

  • Small Biz Marketing and Merchandising Design

  • Placemaking & Destination Product Development

  • Digital Media & Creative Storytelling

  • Economic & Community Impact Analysis

  • Engagement & Facilitation Expertise

  • Board & Staff Training & Strategy

  • Community, Organization & Program Road Maps

  • Policy & Codification Consulting

  • Pop Up Experiences

  • Housing & Planning


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  • Chamber Chat Podcast, Purpose Statements-2020

  • Brady Chamber of Commerce, Strategic Facilitation 2020

  • Keynote Speaker, Cameron Chamber of Commerce Banquet - 2020

  • Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers, Conference Presenter  - 2020

  • Main  Street America (NMSC) Conference Presenter - 2020, 2018, 2016, 2013, 2012 

  • International Placemaking Week (PPS) Conference Presenter - 2019

  • Texas Downtown Assessment Team Downtown Expert - 2019, 2017, 2014

  • City of Southside Place Commercial District Consultant - 2019 

  • City of Palestine Downtown Consultant - 2019 

  • Elgin Chamber of Commerce Strategic Planning Facilitation - 2019

  • Customer Experience Training La Grange - 2019 

  • American Planning Association TX (APA) Conference Presenter - 2019  

  • Tourism Assessment & Marketing Plan (Sub Consultant) Midland, Texas - 2019-2020

  • Tourism Assessment & Marketing Plan (Sub Consultant) Garland- 2019-2020

  • Texas Downtown Association (TDA) Conference Presenter - 2019, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011 

  • Texas Association of Convention  & Visitors Bureau (TACVB) Conference Presenter - 2018, 2017

  • Texas Historical Commission Real Places (THC) Conference Presenter - 2017 

  • Texas Main Street Summer & Winter Training Conference Presenter - 2017,  2016, 2015, 2008 

  • Main Street Resource Team Downtown Expert - 2017 & 2012 

  • Galveston Area Council of Governments (HGAC) Workshop Speaker - 2016 

  • Texas Municipal League Annual Conference (TML) Conference Presenter - 2013

  • Texas Travel Industry Association (TTIA) Tourism College Guest Speaker - 2019 

  • Congress for the New Urbanism  (CNU) Open Innovation Speaker - 2019

"Sarah O'Brien was the only person we'd met who had even considered the question."


- Tony Horowitz

 “Spying on the South"

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We are proud members of these organizations who serve a greater purpose than themselves!

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We are proud to partner with colleagues who are experts at things we are not!

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Sarah knows her purpose: To inspire and empower curiosity, courage, and collaboration in the people and places whose paths I cross. 

Sarah O'Brien is a keen reader of people, places, and the culture of organizations. She thrives in dynamic and challenging environments and can take the "dys" out of dysfunction. A pragmatist who can do imaginary back-bends between the tactical and strategic, Sarah is always ON and always ALL IN. She is a passionate public service veteran known for collaboration, inspiration, cultivation, and engagement. 


She takes ownership, delivers results, and looks for innovative strategies that align with whatever mission she is on or goal she has set for herself. She believes in the critical importance of empowerment and inspiration at all levels and conditions.  Adverse to claiming most visionary tendencies because Sarah can empower those around her to pick up their own paintbrushes and join in on painting the collective vision. A community, downtown, destination and storytelling champion and expert.  She can wrangle and harness the creativity and lead them to victory.

Click HERE for a current copy of Sarah's professional profile. 

A lover of authenticity, experiences, and placemaking, she is also a catalyst for change. She knows when to retreat from battle and when to lead a revolution. Sarah firmly believes that local government must focus on being inclusive, transparent, diverse, and fiscally sustainability, And that public sector data and technology have caused the greatest need for government reform. In order to not only stay relevant and viable we have to admit, understanding, and commit to drastically changing the way we operate in order to move past the peril we are facing at all levels.

Most recently Sarah served the City of Bastrop as their Hospitality & Downtown Director and Public Information Officer overseeing a 3.5-million-dollar budget and team of 11. Her team was comprised of amazingly unique and diverse individuals who collectively worked seamlessly to provide the "kitchen sinks" list of services to our customers. She was charged with cultivating strategic community partnerships, enhancing media and intergovernmental relationships, enhancing the return on the tax payer’s investment, forming coalitions and creating capacity, crisis communications, unifying and spotlighting diverse and authentic cultural resources, promoting sustainable and fiscally responsible development, and spearheading countless memorable moments. She has also served the Texas communities of Nacogdoches, Cleburne, and Marshall in various tourism, chamber, main street, development and communication roles. She has created lifelong friendships from countless relationships with colleagues. She is blessed beyond measure with a cast full of characters she's collected from the public service sector.

A two-time past president of the Texas Downtown Association, Sarah regularly gives back to her field. She enjoys serving on downtown assessment and Main Street resource teams as well as offering advice or a helping hand to communities that ask. The Edna Tea Garden Award for outstanding leadership in Hospitality Administration was given to her by her Alma mater, Stephen F. Austin State University for showing a commitment to her profession and nurturing the next generation of leaders. She has proudly watched tables turn as several of her interns have developed into professional industry veterans that she calls on regularly.  She loves public speaking and regularly presents at the state and national level on a multitude of topics without reading from a single powerpoint slide.  A firm belief that spiders are far more frightening than public speaking she prides herself on sharing stories and ideas that can help others.


Her proudest professional recognition to date is the sandwich named in her honor at Dolli's Diner on the square in downtown Nacogdoches, the Nutty O'Brien. Dolli's Diner is located in the Hoya Building. The street adjacent to the property was once recommended to be closed due to its structural integrity. After grants, policy implementation, engineering, preservation accommodations, and targeted development recruitment efforts, Dolli was able to open her second location in the transformed building. Sarah is bursting with pride now that the small business owner recently opened a third restaurant, Cowboy Jack's Saloon in downtown Nacogdoches.

She has been called courageous and inspirational. Until recently she didn't understand her impact and influence on those around her and now that she does she is ready to help you and your organization understand theirs.

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