News from the Top

Inspired Leaders Shaping Cities


Inspired leaders shaping cities. As we all look toward a brighter future, I’ve been reflecting on IDA’s work throughout the past decade. Embodied in our brand narrative (note today’s title and our IDA tag line), we simultaneously recognize the inspired leadership of our past, those who collectively revitalized our urban centers, and of our current aspiring leaders who are further shaping cities in their individual ways as agents of change. You are the keepers of your own local vision, trusted conveners with deep connections to both public and private sector power, and you are action-oriented. The IDA brand mission is so on-point that we even have a special Inspired Leader Award for members and partner organization leaders. I invite you to make a nomination.  

Reflecting on our past, I am clearly reminded of how our IDA strategic plan has guided our work and how essential strategic plans guide each IDA member organization. Executive leaders must champion the organization’s mission and focus on strategic objectives. Without a clear mission or strategy, the urgent can overtake what’s most important. IDA’s mission begins by empowering place management professionals with knowledge, research and public policy. This is our purpose and the cornerstone of onboarding newly elected board members and our three new staff members joining the organization. Many new chief executives have joined IDA member districts, and many member organizations are rehiring staff positions vacated during the pandemic or adding new positions. As leaders, I hope you are taking the time to instill your organization’s mission and strategic priorities within your entire team. It is paramount to their success and the success of your district.  

Fulfilling our mission is why IDA board leaders and volunteers contribute their time and expertise so generously and why staff members wake each day. Empowering members with knowledge is the foundation of our past work as an educational organization. Yet, we continue to advance our mission by measuring knowledge and competency through the Leadership in Place Management certification. IDA’s uniquely focused research is aimed at sub-areas within municipalities – districts and neighborhoods. No other entity focuses on this scale, or better understands how hyper-local influence and activation helps bridge the gap between the public and private sectors, which is essential to shaping the entire city. Most recently, our federal advocacy efforts in Canada and the U.S. are beginning to set the stage. Our members’ highly influential local voices can further shape federal policy and investment toward creating prosperous city centers, commercial neighborhoods and livable urban places for all.   

This is our mission. It is why we exist as a membership organization and how we serve our members first and foremost in our pursuit of becoming the essential membership organization for professional place management leaders worldwide. What is your mission, and how do you embody it every day? How do you instill the passion and spirit of your mission within your teams? This is the role of the senior staff and chief executive. It ensures your organization meets the immediate challenges of the day without jeopardizing the aspirations of the future.