Message from the WEDA Board Chair: Donna Walker

WOW! I can’t believe 2022 is already coming to an end. As WEDA closes out our books for the year, we appreciate the time to reflect on our past accomplishments, which are many. But first, I personally want to take this opportunity to wish each one of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a blessed New Year! Thank you for your membership and support of WEDA. It has been our privilege to serve as your Board Chair and an advocate for Wisconsin’s talented economic development community.

Throughout the past year WEDA has solicited and received feedback on the most pressing issues facing our membership – and we have adjusted our programming to help address them. For instance, along with many private sector companies that struggle finding and training talent, local economic development organizations (EDO’s) also struggle with the workforce shortage crisis. Many of our member EDO’s are experiencing a new sort of “brain drain” as their experienced team members continue to leave their jobs due to stress and mental health burn out. Economic development professionals are accelerating retirement or career changes. Many redevelopment agencies, communities and EDO’s throughout Wisconsin are being pressed to train current staff on how to do more with less. Still, many are finding it difficult to hire replacements or are struggling to adequately prepare new economic development professionals. As such, WEDA’s job board was highly active in 2022. It is an excellent tool that many members have utilized throughout the year to help find in-demand talent.

2022 also saw an increase in the use of the WEDA Academy educational opportunities. The Academy provided a record number of economic development training opportunities aimed at flattening the learning curve for the state’s economic development community. Finally, this past year we instituted a little more “fun & stress relief” activities to our conferences and annual meetings so attendees could spend a little more time on personal relationship building and networking – and to give them a chance to mentally recharge and regroup.

As always, remember… WEDA is here to serve you. We listen to our members, we act accordingly, and we will always have your back. Earning your trust and increasing our value by monitoring the landscape for issues and opportunities that impact your ability to keep doing the great work that you do is what keeps us going! I totally expect 2023 to be another busy year where the WEDA team will continue to offer innovative economic development programs and services that are sought by our members.