June 2016: Executive Director
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
As the summer months come upon us, I know that each of your organizations is working on projects that are driving new initiatives or growth in a given marketplace. Due to your efforts, Wisconsin is advancing our economy and communities on a daily basis.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been fortunate to be invited by members to attend their board meetings or visit their offices. When I attend these meetings, I am struck by the expertise that each economic development organization has around the table focused on driving community advancement. It’s also very apparent that our membership works on diverse activities, and the field of economic development is evolving as the needs of our communities change. This change spurs each organization to update its model to determine which efforts will create the greatest return on the precious investment of time, talent and money.
A challenge that is all too common for most organizations is the limitations of their staffing model. For many organizations the question is: How do we implement our mission and fully leverage the skills of our board of directors?
WEDA is also going through this type of analysis on a meeting-by-meeting basis. The board of directors is engaged more than ever before. They have formed project teams to support specific initiatives, while implementing an organizational dashboard to monitor the progress in key measurements without getting bogged down in committee reports. While this may sometime limit the time for the board to celebrate the progress being made, it positions the board to address challenges and barriers to achieve its objectives for the year. Of course, this model has its own set of challenges, but it helps to advance initiatives and allows our skilled board to take ownership in the organization.
As part of WEDA’s outreach to economic development professionals, the WEDA staff will, once a month, attend and participate in a member’s local economic development session or event. We feel that this will help both organizations. If you would like to have WEDA staff at an upcoming meeting or would like us to spend a couple hours with you to understand your local situation and activities, just reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org . Also, I am happy to visit locations with staff that are new to the profession. I hope that my 25 years of experience running a local economic development organization can help reduce your stress, while providing a path for advancing objectives.
- Brian Doudna, Executive Director