Could It Be Me? Should It Be Me?

Understanding What Makes Broadband Champions

As a Marjorie and Charles Benton Opportunity Fund Fellow, Dr. Pierrette Renée Dagg examined the role community champions in community connectivity solutions and the factors that allow these leaders to succeed.

Building on Merit’s work with a number of Michigan communities, she developed in-depth profiles of eight community champions and a taxonomy of the different kinds of broadband champions:

  • Connectors are adept at creating significant personal connections, acting as the social adhesive in communities.
  • Multipliers are skilled strategists who leverage relationships, knowledge, and resources to methodically achieve their objectives.
  • Visionaries stand out for their forward-looking plans, aiming for a clear goal and persistently moving towards it.

By understanding qualities and archetypes of champions, those who want to improve connectivity can understand context-specific strategies and tactics that are effective and adaptable to their local community. They can also, hopefully, see the many ways to be effective broadband champions and realize that yes, it could be them.

Read the Digital Beat Article, Understanding What Makes Broadband Champions, May 8th, 2024.

Download the full report.

About the Author

Dr. Pierrette Renée Dagg is the director of research for Merit Network at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She oversees Technology Impact Research and R&D. She serves as a research associate at the Quello Center for Media and Information Policy at Michigan State University and is an adjunct professor at Oakland Community College.

Dr. Dagg completed her Executive MBA from the University of Toledo (UT) College of Business and Innovation in September 2018. She went on to earn her Ph.D. from UT in the Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education and Education Technology in 2023.


On May 22nd at 1 PM ET we held a webinar about the crucial role broadband champions play in addressing the connectivity needs in their communities. Dr. Dagg was joined by some of the champions profiled to share their stories and the factors that contributed to their success. Speakers included:

  • K. John Egelhaaf, Executive Director of the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission (Including Berrien County)
  • Jason Kronemeyer, Director of Technology at Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District
  • Barb Fuller, former Chair of the Washtenaw County Broadband Task Force

The recording of the webinar is available here

Learn More About the Communities and Champions