Darlene Jackson (aka DJ Lady D) Master Talk

Darlene Jackson, aka DJ Lady D, is hailed as “Chicago’s House Music Queen” by Chicago Magazine and has toured North America, Europe, Asia and Russia as an international DJ, producer, remixer and A&R. She has worked with the Chicago Chapter’s Urban Outreach committee and participated in advocacy efforts with state legislators in Springfield, Illinois.     


Many small communities struggle with how to differentiate themselves to attract visitors. Learn how two downtowns took inspiration from their history to look toward the future and create interactive storytelling programs and a roadmap for the future.

Hill City Eats: A Downtown Lynchburg Cookbook

In 2022, Downtown Lynchburg Association (DLA) set out to create a one-of-a-kind cookbook highlighting the diverse restaurant scene that has breathed new life into the city in the past 20 years. This work culminated in a stunning 172-page hardcover casebound book which sold out its first run of 1,000 copies in under two months.

Flatiron NoMad Rebrand & Website Initiative

With the BID boundary expansion and the continued challenges presented by the pandemic, district stakeholders and audiences need the Parntership’s focus and resources more than ever. Through a clear, compelling and distinct brand positioning strategy and graphic identity, the organization is poised to tap into the expertise and energy of stakeholders.

ShopFairbankVillage2Win Contest

ShopFairbankVillage2Win was a sweepstake designed to influence shopping behaviour immediately and in the long term. For six weeks, the community was encouraged to shop locally and submit receipts for purchases over $20. These became entries into a weekly draw for $1000 ($500 to keep and $500 to share with the issuing business).

Not Magic – Realistic Steps to Excellent Event Branding

Learn a step-by-step process for event branding that you can apply to your own projects right away. Learn how to dive into design thinking from a place manager’s perspective, offering support and consideration of details like incorporating sponsors, creating cohesive looks across several events and place branding vs. event branding. 

Telling Your Story – Post-Pandemic PR & Marketing Strategies

UPMOs place many resources, time and emphasis on owned and paid media because they are trackable and can be done cheaply. However, earned media, secured through public relations efforts, will not only drive brand awareness, ticket sales and word of mouth, it can also result in a transformative economic impact for your downtown or main street.

Data-Driven Decision Making in Marketing & Event Planning  

Who are we trying to reach, and who do we actually reach? How do we use that information to plan and promote events for a diverse audience. Speakers will explore examples of how research, data collection and marketing tactics were used for an arts and culture series in downtown Philadelphia. Discover how data helped the marketing team collect pedestrian counts, attendance figures and attendee geography, and how it assisted in advertising and other outreach efforts. 

Sponsorship Fundraising

Case-studies from Downtown Mesa Association, Tenderloin Community Benefit District, and East Cut Community Benefit District about nontraditional fund development strategies. Place management organizations are going beyond assessments and finding sources to support programs that build communities in their neighborhoods through activation, programming, economic development, and more.

Bringing People Back Downtown Through Marketing and Events

People are eating out, going to events, and traveling again… so why do some districts feel as alive as ever while other districts struggle to bring people back? In this presentation, leaders from districts of all sizes will share the placemaking, events and marketing strategies that have brought visitors, tourists, and even office workers back downtown. Learn why some audiences are reluctant to return, and the role districts can play in persuading them to fall in love with our districts again.

Get Your District Back Online with Digital Advertising

There’s never been a greater need to quickly bring our districts back on track. Digital advertising is the most efficient channel for increasing foot traffic, event attendance and sales, but only when it’s done right. Learn how Downtown Norfolk used digital ads during the pandemic to become the country’s top travel destination, shattered Restaurant Week records and emerged with extraordinary momentum.

Friend or Foe – How to Effectively Manage the Media

Marketing is central to our work as downtown leaders. Understanding how the media works is key to getting your message out and making sure that your community is represented in the best light possible. Learn how to position yourself as a thought leader and become an effective and persuasive communicator.

Changing Cultures, Brands and Names

As communities and districts evolve, place management organizations must follow suit. This panel will explore initiating and managing change from the inside/out on both the organizational and district level. The panelists will share the positives and challenges of renaming and expanding districts, rebranding efforts, expanding programmatic focus, measuring impact and building an inclusive organization culture.

Advancing Places: Downtown Recovery Strategies and Storytelling

Downtown leaders and marketing professionals around the world have been exploring new recovery strategies and storytelling. The depth and range of techniques used to elevate one’s district vary. In this session, speakers will share a variety of tactics from their own experiences and attendees can examine which approaches might work best for their district.

Advancing Places: Get Your District Back Online With Digital Advertising

There’s never been more need to quickly bring our districts back on track. Digital advertising is the most efficient channel for increasing foot traffic, event attendance, and sales… but only when it’s done right. Learn how Downtown Norfolk used digital ads during the pandemic to become the country’s top travel destination, shattered Restaurant Week records, and emerged with extraordinary momentum.

Downtown Sioux Falls Burger Battle

Perhaps the best way to describe Burger Battle is to share the copy from DTSF’s website: Prepare your taste buds for battle! The 8th Annual Downtown Burger Battle presented by the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Foundation kicks off January 2, 2021 and will continue through the month of January. Participating restaurants will exemplify the breadth and variety of downtown dining by showcasing the classic American burger.

Cincy Card Connection Program

The Cincy Card Connection program was created and managed by 3CDC to provide immediate financial support to Downtown Cincinnati merchants. The program established a unique gift card matching system that benefits two businesses with one gift card purchase. In order to help as many local businesses as possible, the matching gift card would be purchased from a similar, but different, business.

Downtown Los Angeles Virtual Tour Platform

The DTLA Virtual Tour platform is an innovative tool developed by the Downtown Center BID to showcase the Downtown Los Angeles real estate market, its most significant properties, public spaces, and development projects, to investors, developers, brokers, and prospective commercial and residential tenants. With a dynamic combination of interactive technology, digital mapping, high-definition photography, and drone video footage the DTLA Virtual Tour offers both a bird’s-eye view of downtown.

Lift Up Local

Lift Up Local is comprised of three smaller projects: Expanding sidewalks, a grant program, and a downtown voucher program. This Best Practices dives into the logistics and details of each component.

Crystal City to National Landing BID Rebrand

In 2019, the Crystal City BID expanded its boundaries by 70% and began the process of selecting a new name and brand for the organization. The brand needed to provide a cohesive sense of place that unified the downtown while still highlighting the existing neighborhoods of Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard that the BID now encompassed. The BID began a rebrand effort with the design firm Pentagram, but misconceptions around the new name necessitated extensive community engagement.

Great DSM Hot Air Balloon Hunt

Greater Des Moines (DSM) residents were encouraged to search for fun surprises in the Downtown DSM throughout two winter weekend evenings on Friday, Jan. 22 and Friday, March 5. Glowing hot air balloons were being stationed in different locations throughout Downtown for an hour-and-a-half each night. Residents were invited to follow The Partnership’s social media channels so that they were first to know about the balloon locations.

South End Small Business Saturdays

South End Small Business Saturdays is an annual program focused on supporting local retail and the holiday season. In 2020, we pivoted from an extensive one-day program aligned with the national Small Business Saturday, to a five-week program focused on supporting local retail, from Thanksgiving to Dec 31. We held 4 Saturday pop-up markets and ran a 5-week promotional program called Shop Small Heroes to encourage and reward shoppers for spending local.

Advancing Places: Pinnacle Award Spotlight

Winning an IDA Pinnacle Award is the highest level of recognition for urban place management professionals. We’ll walk through two programs pulling communities through the COVID-19 pandemic: the planning of a gift card program benefiting local businesses and a public space activation offering an outdoor office for flexibility in work and wellness. This webinar highlights The Cincy Card Connection and O2: Outdoor Office in Rosslyn, VA.

Advancing Places: The Virtual Public Realm

In a hybrid era of virtual and physical, how can urban place management organizations showcase their assets and developments? Learn how the Downtown Center BID (DCBID) in Los Angeles developed a virtual tour platform to showcase the downtown real estate market, its most significant properties, public spaces, and development projects, to investors, developers, brokers, prospective commercial and residential tenants.

Advancing Places: Marketing Your Downtown as Open for Business

Every downtown and district is struggling with how to support the businesses under their purview to provide much-needed foot traffic, sales and revenues, but the fact remains that we’re all “open for business”. From ongoing campaigns targeting locals, tourists and visitors to larger 40,000-foot view strategic planning, in this session you’ll learn from two very different place management practitioners and the strategic consultancy working with both of them to deploy data and technology.

Advancing Places: Crafting Recovery Messaging

The new year has brought with it many of the same challenges, but that doesn’t mean your outward messaging needs to be doom and gloom. 2021 is bound to be complicated and exciting for districts. How do we bring positive messaging back to cities and districts that are unsure about what is next? What strategies can marketing and communications professionals use to jettison economic anxiety for business owners, residents and visitors? Where do we begin crafting year-long messaging for stakeholders operating week-by-week?

Advancing Places: Influencer Marketing

Social media influencers are a powerful link between your district and your target audiences. Successful influencer partnerships that are authentic and adaptive can become an integral part of any marketing and communication strategy. Discover how three organizations with varied budget levels researched, implemented and monitored influencer programs in their district. Hear from panelists on how they utilized emerging social media tactics to build meaningful engagement.

Advancing Places: Creating Customer Loyalty

Now more than ever, downtown and neighborhood district organizations are looking for ways to support local businesses and encourage consumers to shop locally. Communities across the country are implementing “shop local” campaigns. Join this webinar and learn from two practitioners, one who has experience maintaining an existing program gift card program for over ten years and another who is in the process of launching a new district gift card program. Come prepared to learn from their experiences and bring your questions to further the discussion.

Advancing Places: Holiday Retail Promotions

The holiday season is a crucial part of the year for many main streets and downtowns. Successful retail promotions can boost the economic development for all business owners and reconnect residents with local merchants. Join this webinar to hear from two district leaders on how they are transforming traditional holiday events into innovative activities that are well-received by both consumers and businesses. Come prepared to share with colleagues how you are navigating this unique holiday season.

Advancing Places: Communications

During these challenging times, communicating with stakeholders throughout your community is more important than ever before. Hear from different panelists and learn about specific communication tactics that have been employed to help support their district during these uncertain times. Come away with ideas to apply in your city.

“Getting the Word Out:” Strategically Sound District Communications

In a world of packed calendars, dizzying social feeds and overflowing email inboxes—on top a global pandemic, no less—how can districts successfully deliver messaging, reach their target audiences and negotiate the needs of stakeholders who want district support in “getting the word out?” Speakers from communities large and small, share hands-on, proven tactics of how to strategically marry audience, channel and results.

Why So Serious? Follow the Fun to Find Your Voice

Could you pick your marketing voice out in a crowd, or do you sound like every other BID in your city? From newsletters, to signage, website copy and annual meeting videos, stop taking yourself so seriously and start having fun! Using both case studies and the basic tenets of improv comedy, BID communications experts will help make the mundane memorable.

Authentic Influence: Evolving Social Media Tactics

Social media influencers can be a powerful link between your district and your target audiences. Successful influencer partnerships must be authentic, relational and adaptive. Three case studies –Tampa, Milwaukee and Tempe – will demonstrate distinct models of district-specific influencing. Tactics at varied budget levels will be explored. Return to your district able to identify or expand upon influencer opportunities.

Join Grow with Google to Empower Your Community with Digital Skills  (Grow with Google)

You’re already doing great work in your community and Grow with Google wants to help. Grow with Google helps people across the United States gain digital skills to grow their careers and businesses. Join us to learn how you can gain access to presentation materials, resources and hands-on help from Grow with Google’s team, all completely free of cost.


Unbranded is an experimental pop-up shop showcasing the finest work of Dallas’ robust creative community. Sponsored by Downtown Dallas, Inc. throughout the past five holiday seasons, Unbranded brings together a unique, diverse group of vendors – typically local artists, artisans, and designers trying to expand their small, often online-only businesses – each year to provide a special, one-of-a-kind shopping experience for all Downtown residents, employees, and visitors.

Adams Morgan Date Nights

The purpose of the Date Nights campaign was to brand Adams Morgan as THE destination in DC for a “date.” We set up multiple date lineups and offered suggestions that would appeal to a diverse audience. From girls night out or a mother-daughter date night to a first date or anniversary – we assembled a “grid of dates” on our website which provided suggestions, incorporating dozens of our businesses.

Downtown Tempe’s Micro-Influencer Program

People assume that to be influential on social media you must have thousands and thousands of followers. However, marketers have discovered that the true effectiveness of influencer marketing comes from engagement. In 2017, the Downtown Tempe Authority alongside Bright Brothers Strategy Group, launched a micro-influencer pilot program in an effort to increase authentic engagement and ramp up BID marketing efforts across the board.

King of Prussia District’s Restaurant & Retail Week Benefitting Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

In 2014, King of Prussia District launched King of Prussia Restaurant Week. From the beginning, the restaurants insisted that the event benefit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. King of Prussia District facilitated the partnership, creating branding/marketing and getting restaurants involved. In 2018, we launched a corresponding retail event and in 2020, the events grew bigger as we launched the Community Champion program and partnered with the school district.

Building Brand, Increasing Awareness, Celebrating Diversity: Financial District Online Interview Series

The Financial District Online Interview Series was created to leverage the diverse business and employee voices in Toronto’s Financial District to build the district’s brand, increase employee awareness of the Financial District BIA and celebrate the diversity of the area. Rather than create a new marketing/branding campaign, we used the people in the district to build the brand and speak to the strengths of the area while engaging area employees on social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).