The 2022 Annual Conference & Marketplace in Vancouver, British Columbia, proved to be a celebrated IDA event. Educational programming, member networking and collectively experiencing the beauty and charm of the many downtown Vancouver assets made this year’s renewed event a warm welcome back to a more normal professional existence.
It was indeed a week of celebration. Emerging Leaders across three years of both virtual and in-person training, and IDA’s new Certified Leaders in Place Management, were acknowledged. The inaugural cohort of the Executive Leadership Retreat was recognized. Pinnacle Award-winning projects were honored during the Downtown Achievement Awards ceremony. And for the first time ever in-person, IDA’s Inspired Leader Award was presented to County Commissioner Karen Keith from Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jane Jenkins, President & CEO of the Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership.
Commissioner Keith was recognized for her influence in Tulsa’s social service, corporate and business communities. Colleagues describe her 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 were put in her way and no matter how long it took to find a solution. As the Chair of the Downtown Coordinating Council working to establish a 501c3 entity, she traveled to Minneapolis in the fall of 2019 to see firsthand the impact of a standalone management organization, the effectiveness of BID operations, and a proper ambassador-led clean and safe program. As a result, she became an ambassador in her own right, leading the effort for structural changes needed in Tulsa and was a staunch advocate of the final strategic plan endorsing the creation of the Downtown Tulsa Partnership which exists today. IDA is proud to recognize Karen Keith, County Commissioner of the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma, former board member and the final Chair of the Downtown Coordinating Council as IDA’s 2022 Inspired Leader Award winner from outside the profession.
Our Inspired Leader Award from within the profession was awarded to Jane Jenkins, who has been called creative, innovative, energetic … someone who is never afraid to take a risk. Within the past five years alone, Jane’s 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 adapting to unprecedented times, Jane leaned into her role as President and CEO and realigned the organization’s strategic priorities. Her leadership decisions allowed Downtown OKC to narrow its focus to key service areas that would drive downtown Oklahoma City well into the future. While Jane may be known as the International Downtown Association Board Chair from 2007 to 2009, many contemporary IDA members fondly know Jane as a mentor – someone who welcomed them to the industry made herself available and remained willing to serve as a resource at every turn. IDA was pleased (is pleased) to congratulate Jane Jenkins, President & CEO of the Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership with the 2022 Inspired Leader Award
Yes – the conference was educational, a fabulous metropolitan experience and a true celebration! I look forward to yet another wonderful celebration in Chicago next year.