State of the Association: WEDA President and CEO Mary Perry

Hello! I am thrilled to officially start at WEDA in the role of President and CEO and have already hit the ground running. After 20-plus years working in economic development, I look forward to working with each of you to take our organization to the next level. The board and staff have tremendous passion for our mission and have created a seamless transition for our operational and strategic priorities.  Now more than ever WEDA members will be leaned on to give steady and sound recovery guidance to their communities and businesses. This is your year to shine, and WEDA will be right beside you.

Here at WEDA, 2021 will be a year of growth and modernization. True to our mission, we will continue to drive economic prosperity through education and best practices. Through advocacy activities, we will continue to work with lawmakers to promote the interests of Wisconsin’s economic development community.

Starting this spring, you will notice a new twist on our programming, including:

  • Renewed focus on our emerging crop of young, diverse community and economic development professionals;
  • New professional development opportunities for members with a focus on sharing best practices; and
  • Enhanced networking opportunities and efforts to bring new site selector and real estate industry contacts into the fold.

WEDA’s events are core to our value proposition.  We’ll continue to bring opportunities that tap into the industry’s institutional knowledge in the areas of business retention and expansion; commercial and industrial real estate; business and talent attraction; and peer-to-peer sharing of real-life challenges and solutions.  In addition, we will offer valuable WEDA Academy and CRA Network programming. As we strive to stay safe and healthy, our events and educational opportunities will be virtual in the short-term, but we look forward to returning to in-person engagements later in the year.

I also want to take this opportunity to encourage you to register for the 2021 WEDA Governor’s Conference – before it is too late. The event is Feb 3rd – 5th and members receive discounted pricing.  This year’s theme is “Equity in Economic Development”. We also have a wide range of content including tourism; access to capital; thriving rural communities; reshoring global supply chains; innovation; a farm-to-food-to-fork presentation; and a fabulous keynote address – Twenty for the Twenties, featuring William Fruth. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn of the 20 wealth-producing industrial sectors which are predicted to grow in the ‘20’s.

In closing, thank you for your membership in WEDA! For those of you not yet part of our organization, please consider this an invitation to invest in WEDA membership as an individual, community, EDO or corporate citizen. In doing so you’ll realize a quick and significant return on investment! On Wisconsin!