News from the Top

Leadership Begins With You


Participating in the inaugural Executive Leadership Retreat for CEOs and Executive Directors last week proved extraordinary. As a member of this fantastic cohort, I am energized by the depth of thought and passion for collaborative learning on how best to support our staff teams and Boards of Directors. Unlike most other programs, the Executive Leadership Retreat allowed those with the most senior staff position in their organization to use this uniquely safe space to explore our most significant pressures. The adaptive challenges facing our cities are substantial. To address these challenges constructively, we discussed the dual needs of evident board empowerment on strategy and engaging each staff team member for purposeful fulfillment of the organization’s goals alongside their aspirations.  

Through skilled guidance provided by Marti Fischer and Dr. Don Waisanen, the cohort self-assessed our professional work, delved into multiple layers of leadership research and focused on the impacts of the pandemic on our organizations and ourselves. We explored the needs of employees at all levels and how to operationalize organizational values. We learned about the growing imperative for deepening levels of communication, and much more. 

There is so much we all will unpack over the weeks and months ahead as we continue to emerge from the pandemic and further address the complex issues facing our cities. What resonated most for me and brought renewed energy was the profound value gained from being among IDA members who all share a unique perspective and work together to support long-term change. The camaraderie, honesty and open sharing were genuinely unique gifts. Thank you to all my fellow participants for your genuine support and guidance.  

The IDA community gift can undoubtedly be found in many ways. I am fortunate to have been part of the 2022 Executive Leader cohort. You may be a part of the Emerging Leader Fellowship program, or you attend IDA webinars. Maybe you serve on an issue council or have plans of attending IDA’s West Coast Urban District Forum or the 68th Annual Conference & Marketplace. You are all an integral part of the IDA community.  

Whether or not you choose to connect, there is nothing more empowering than being among fellow professionals. I highly recommend making your personal professional development a top priority.