News from the Top

A Gift with Immeasurable ROI


In 2012, I was with the Downtown Fresno Partnership, and we were looking to try a new fundraising effort to raise money for a seasonal ice skating rink.  The fundraising plan?? … repelling down a 16-story historic building that overlooked the skating rink site. We planned to partner with Over the Edge, a company that executes the actual repelling component. Having never done anything like this, I picked up the phone and called Andy Taft of Downtown Fort Worth, who had experience with Over The Edge. He took a good 30 minutes out of his day and answered every question I had, and to be certain many of my questions were ridiculous. But he was gracious, patient and knowledgeable, and those 30 minutes helped me avoid many mishaps resulting in a successful campaign. I could easily tell countless stories like this, where my IDA colleagues shared their time and eased my load.

Over the years, learning from colleagues has repeatedly brought me immeasurable growth. Some of these moments naturally occur at conferences, but another way to get this “fix” is to participate in either the Emerging Leader Fellowship or the Executive Leadership Retreat. I’ve had the privilege of seeing both programs up close, and both create a community of people that are forever connected. Both programs include programming with various industry experts and leadership growth opportunities. However, the pixie dust is in the camaraderie. Our places are all so vastly different, and yet we share incredibly similar elements. These cohorts leave with 29 friends in this industry to be called upon for templates and strategies, as well as laughter and tears. Let’s face it, sometimes we just need to vent to someone who really gets it, and that becomes possible through these communities.

The deadline to apply for the 2023 Emerging Leader Fellowship is December 21, 2022, and the deadline for the 2023 Executive Leadership Retreat is January 4, 2023.  I can’t encourage you enough to review these two opportunities and apply to the one that best fits your path. Not only will you gain professional wisdom, but you will grow your IDA family, which is a gift that will provide an ROI that cannot be measured.