Monday, January 23, 2017
The start of a new year—a time of great optimism and a feeling that anything is possible. For the first few
days of the year, we fantasize about the extreme makeovers we will do in our personal and professional lives. We envision ourselves exercising more, stressing less, organizing that email In Box and meeting all deadlines. While these resolutions require very little work upfront, they require a tremendous amount of willpower to achieve. Unfortunately, many resolutions end up broken before we turn the calendar to February, because we think we lack the willpower to succeed.
I don’t think anyone working in the economic development field lacks willpower, but we do get overwhelmed from juggling multiple projects or setting lofty goals. A logical (and definitely not rocket science) way to deal with feeling overwhelmed is to break the project and goals into manageable pieces and celebrate the small victories and our incremental successes.
WEDA had many small victories, adding up to notable success throughout 2016 that we should celebrate. The association now has its own office, and, thanks to the generosity of Wisconsin Business Finance, we even have furniture. Legislatively, we saw the passage of four important TIF bills, added our own full-time employee dedicated to legislative affairs (welcome Mike Welsh!) and began establishing connections and relationships with newly elected legislators around the state. Many local elected officials learned economic development basics through our ED 101 course, and we acknowledged and promoted local community and economic development efforts from all around the state through the second annual CEDA awards. The 2016 fall conference in Eau Claire was a great success with timely and relevant topics. And for the first time, we’ve secured continuing education credits for EDFP, CEcD and AICP certifications for the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development.
Looking forward to 2017, I hope we have many more successes to celebrate. At the top of the list – a successful Governor’s Conference in Milwaukee! I hope you will join me in Milwaukee to reconnect with old WEDA friends and meet new community and economic development practitioners during this year’s event. One of my resolutions for the New Year is to reach out to those new practitioners and encourage them to engage with WEDA. Our profession has some great “seasoned” professionals – but we need to find ways to bring in and bring up the next generation. Just as they can learn from the experience of those that have been in the economic development trenches for years, those of us that have been around for a while can learn much from our new-to-the-profession peers. These are our WEDA leaders of the future.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your WEDA President for this past year. It was an honor to work with so many amazing people from all around the state. A special thank you to Brian Doudna, WEDA’s executive director, for his tireless efforts on behalf of the organization. Our victories and successes were largely due to his dedication, hard work and willpower!
See you in Milwaukee!
- Pam Christenson, President