Inspired Leader Award

Inspired Leader Award 

Urban place management professionals are at the forefront of significant change throughout metropolitan areas around the globe. For downtowns and city centers to thrive, collaboration between staff, board members, consultants, elected officials, thought leaders and citizen advocates is vital. The IDA Inspired Leader Award honors individuals who have shown clear achievements in recent years, in addressing a broad range of issues. This award aims to recognize a leader within the IDA community and one outside the community who has made an impact on how people live, work and play in cities. Nominate your peers to elevate their outstanding work and those external champions for their contributions to the place management industry. Winners will be recognized during the Annual Conference & Marketplace in Seattle, WA.  

Submission Information and Instructions
The 2024 Inspired Leader Award nomination process is now open. Self-nominations will not be accepted. The form will close on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. There is no cost nominate someone.

Nominate Now

Submitters must include: 

  • Name of nominee and their contact information (phone numbfer and e-mail address). 
  • Name of the organization they currently work for or most recently worked for.
  • Location where nominee currently resides (city, state/province and country).
  • Please complete the two prompts in Submittable detailing why your nominee deserves to be given the Inspired Leader Award. Include detailed information about their place management contributions, past achievements and current projects.

Nomination Examples

2023 Inspired Leader Award Winner: Mary-Claire Burick

Working at the intersection of economic development, placemaking and community engagement, Mary-Claire Burick, President of the Rosslyn BID in Arlington, Virginia, was honored as the 2023 winner: “Mary-Claire has leveraged her skill as a communicator, her training in change management and her experience as a consultant to develop innovative projects and programs beyond the core marketing, events, and clean and safe programs. These include large-scale activations, like partnering with the County to build a dog park, creating an IDA award-winning outdoor office and launching a regionally recognized business engagement program. Through her relationship building, Mary-Claire inspires her team to see that a leader can be effective and highly influential by being collaborative.” 

2022 Inspired Leader Award Winners: Karen Keith & Jane Jenkins

An example of a recipient with an incredible influence in social service and business communities is Karen Keith, County Commissioner of the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma: “… . Colleagues describe her (Keith) as universally respected because she shows up for her community and does so with positivity. She works with grace and tenacity and is tireless in her efforts to tackle big problems, no matter how many roadblocks are put in her way, and no matter how long it may take to find a solution. She served as the Chair of the Downtown Coordinating Council as it went through strategic planning to establish a 501c3 entity and clean and safe program. She traveled to Minneapolis in the fall of 2019 to see firsthand the impact of a standalone management entity, the effectiveness of BID operations, and a true ambassador-led clean and safe program.”

Jane Jenkins, President & CEO of the Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership, has been described as energetic, creative and innovative and someone who isn’t afraid to take a risk: “Within the past five years alone, her (Jenkins) key projects have included breaking ground on the OKC Streetcar, a 135-million dollar modern transit initiative; winning and fulfilling the Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant award for Kerr Park; and completion of the Bricktown mid-block crossing, a multi-year public-private partnership to create a safe environment for pedestrians in the historic entertainment district. During the pandemic, when organizations were pausing to evaluate current practices to adapt to ever-changing policies and trends during unprecedented times, this leader leaned into her role as President and CEO and realigned the organization’s strategic priorities.”

Past Award Winners
View past award winners’ speeches here.