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It is the way things have always been done in Dayton. Neighbors talk to each other over fences and on porches about what they are really thinking about. 

Tapping into that dynamic helped Nan Whaley become mayor in 2013. Even after she won, she still keeps in touch with the Ohio city’s 140,000 residents through "porch tours."

Whaley says she listens fearlessly because she has learned that in public service, you cannot be afraid of failure. Before becoming mayor, she served as one of the city's youngest commissioners.

On this episode of "In the Arena," a podcast about public leadership, Whaley talks about her porch tours and what she has learned from them.

There's more at www.governing.com/podcasts 

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