State of the Association – WEDA President and CEO Mary Perry

Merry Christmas! As the holiday season unfolds, I extend warm wishes to you and your loved ones, hoping it brings peace and joy into your lives. Amidst the hustle and bustle, take a moment to express gratitude for the blessings surrounding you – a sentiment I hold dear at this time of year.

I want to express my heartfelt thanks to each WEDA member for your unwavering support and dedication to our shared cause. Your commitment to community development in Wisconsin is truly commendable, and it inspires us at WEDA to continue our mission.

As we celebrate the holidays and close out the year, I want to bring to your attention some exciting WEDA news and outline the numerous benefits of WEDA membership:

  • Exciting Member Benefits in 2024: WEDA Academy and WEDAConnect
    • First, I want to thank Kathy Heady for her exceptional management of our Academy program over the last serval years. She did a great job, and we will certainly miss her. Kathy’s exceptional career of service to both the economic development industry and WEDA members is immeasurable!
    • In recognition of the importance of professional development, we are excited to introduce a new exclusive member benefit structure for the Academy. Members can now access seminars and webinars for free! The revamped Academy will cover foundational economic development topics and cutting-edge subjects such as cybersecurity, AI and GIS, immigration, talent attraction strategies, rural placemaking, entrepreneurship, and more. Your input is crucial – let us know which topics matter most to your communities.
    • We’re also pleased to announce WEDAConnect, a new exclusive member benefit. It will be a place of belonging for members to connect, exchange ideas, and share best practices in economic development. It will be THE place where members go to
    •  get and give answers. More details coming soon. Stay tuned for more details…
  • Join WEDA Today: Unlock Member Discounts and Benefits – If you’re not a member yet, consider joining WEDA now. Membership offers significant discounts on events and programs, providing more value than the cost of membership itself. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to network and enhance your professional development.
  • 2024 Wisconsin Basic Economic Development Course – The 2024 BEDC will be held May 6 – 9, 2024 in Eau Claire, WI at the Chippewa Valley Technical College.  Who Should Attend? Economic developers, public officials, young professionals in economic development or related industries, ACRE alumni, members of Wisconsin’s EDB Coalition, and others who want an intensive “basic” overview of economic development concepts, methods, strategies, and practices.
  • Scholarships Available: Support for Financial Need – If financial constraints prevent you from attending our events, reach out to us. Generous donors aligned with our values support scholarships. Contact me at to request consideration based on need.
  • Charting Wisconsin’s Horizon: Emerging Trends in Economic Development – I can’t wait to see all of you Jan 31 -Feb 2nd in Wisconsin Dells at the Kalahari for the 2024 WEDA Governor’s Conference on Economic Development. Join us for our first annual community service project benefitting Hope House of South Central Wisconsin. Please sit in on the WEDA CRA Network Access to Capital through Special Purpose Credit Programs Seminar, delve into the dynamic world of energy at our Energizing the Future-Exploring Key Trends in Energy Academy, and then kick back at the USBank Opening Reception.  Governor’s Conference Registration and Agenda

I hope you are looking at a strong close to 2023 and that the holidays bring you moments of quiet magic and joy! Now let it snow!