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Episode 105: How to Let Your Passion Inspire Your Purpose | Jill Marasa, Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County
Episode 105: How to Let Your Passion Inspire Your Purpose | Jill Marasa, Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“I’m very passionate and engaged in everything that I undertake and seek that same energy in those around me.” —Jill Marasa

What is that one thing about economic development that gets your heart beating faster, that energizes you without the assistance of caffeine? Is it the thrill of landing a new big project? Is it the urgency of solving talent problems? Or does your passion and purpose intersect with the knowledge you’re improving families’ lives not just today but for generations to come?

Today, Carla Sones talks with Jill Marasa, Vice President of Business Retention and Expansion for the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County. Jill dives into the challenges (and rewards) of communicating her role to community members who need to know the importance of economic development, why this matters to her, and how doing this well makes doing her job easier and more impactful.

Carla and Jill dive into a discussion on workforce, where Jill shares some of the innovative strategies her organization is implementing, the partnership she’s forged to drive the plan forward, and why these events have been successful as a talent strategy sure to impact folks for years to come.

Jill is recognized as one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers, and her passion for her region is palpable. We are excited for you to listen in to the full conversation!

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 104: Are You Courageous Enough to Make Really Big Decisions?? | Betsy Markey, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade
Episode 104: Are You Courageous Enough to Make Really Big Decisions?? | Betsy Markey, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“You can’t make a decision without being brave enough to acknowledge that you might fail. You may not always succeed, but you will be a better person for it.” —Betsy Markey

Have you ever been faced with needing to make a big decision where the responsibility for consequences rests mostly on your shoulders? Did the thought of failing give you anxiety about making the wrong choice?

Betsy Markey, Executive Director for the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, joins Carla to talk about big decisions, potential failures, bravery and lessons.

Betsy has had a wide range of experiences, including as a business owner, a public servant at the federal level, and now working for the greater good of Colorado. She talks about empathy being a guiding principle in all of the work she has done, especially while leading her team through this pandemic. Betsy also dives into cultivating the courage to do things where you might fail. She talks candidly about her experiences with failure and the lessons she has learned.

Betsy is one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers, and she has a lot of inspiring, refreshing, creative and motivating insights. Tune in now!

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 103: How Has Business Attraction Strategy Changed This Year? | Liana Hovakimyan, Toronto Global
Episode 103: How Has Business Attraction Strategy Changed This Year? | Liana Hovakimyan, Toronto Global 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“One can be a natural-born networker, but nurturing that growing network is a completely different skill that adds meaning to any relationship.” —Liana Hovakimyan

Who else has felt immensely challenged by the inability to connect in-person over the past year? How has it affected your efforts to build relationships and grow your network?

Today, Carla Sones talks with Liana Hovakimyan, Director of Investment Attraction at Toronto Global. As an organization focused entirely on attracting business, Liana talks about the struggles (and ways she has overcome said hurdles) of shifting to remote visits and connections with potential new businesses and clients.

Liana has a fascinating, international lens on economic development; she has worked within the discipline in Armenia, Egypt, and now in Canada with a focus on attracting US businesses. She shares what sets Toronto apart from other cities and why the city is becoming a major hub for talent.

Recognized as one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers, Liana has keen insights on the business attraction industry and has an energizing conversation with Carla Sones. Tune in now to hear more from this driven and high-performing woman!

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 102: Are You Listening and Learning First to Expand Your Toolbox? | Tom Ryan, Pasco Economic Development Council
Episode 102: Are You Listening and Learning First to Expand Your Toolbox? | Tom Ryan, Pasco Economic Development Council 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“The key to leadership is taking the time to listen and learn from others. It is not the easiest trait to learn and it takes time to develop the patience to absorb the information, decipher what is beneficial and implement best practices in day-to-day business activities.” —Tom Ryan

When crisis hits or when the economy takes a downturn, economic development ramps up. In our industry, we know that at the bottom of those dips, the tide will turn and opportunities will rise again.

Tom Ryan, Director of Business Development at Pasco Economic Development Council, joins today and he talks about just that; how economic recessions and rising opportunities have influence and inspired his career journey. Tom emphasizes the importance of reading, researching and learning to truly understand various scenarios, whether with a global pandemic in mind or in learning a new industry, or anything in between.

Tom aims to stay humble, understands that project losses are not personal, and is hungry for learning. Tune in now to glean more insights from another amazing North America’s Top 50 Economic Developer!

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 101: Do You Want to Cultivate Deal Discipline? | Janel Carothers, Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission
Episode 101: Do You Want to Cultivate Deal Discipline? | Janel Carothers, Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Success is uncomfortable, and I learn more from failures. It’s not always fun, but seeing the silver lining helps me stay centered.” —Janel Carothers

Deal chasing is part of the thrill of being an economic developer. But what happens when the chasing gets uncoordinated and ends up eating precious time and resources for projects that aren’t a fit for your community?

Janel Carothers, Chief Development Officer at Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, joins Faye Davis today. Janel talks about how she cultivated deal discipline and stopped wasting time and energy on the projects that weren’t a fit for her community.

Janel also dives into needing to tell the story behind the announcement; so often project announcement get their 15 minutes in the spotlight, yet no one knows the vast amount of time, treasure and resources it took to haul it across the finish line. Her insights on knowing when to pivot your people strategies to meet the team where they’re at mentally and energetically are on point.

Janel is one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers this year, and her energy, dedication and industry knowledge run deep. Tune in now to hear more from this dynamite leader!

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 100: Why Is It Difficult to Actually Rely on Others’ Strengths? | Cal Wray, Augusta Economic Development Authority
Episode 100: Why Is It Difficult to Actually Rely on Others’ Strengths? | Cal Wray, Augusta Economic Development Authority 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“There is no question off the table, just ask.” —Cal Wray

Today’s conversation with Cal Wray, President at Augusta Economic Development Authority, is a great reminder of why economic developers do the hard work to make our communities better. Cal shares what keeps him passionate about economic development, even when times are tough, and he also touches on how he brings himself back to his why and kick starts his energy.

While Augusta, GA tends to bring about a vision of golf tournaments, the conversation with Cal goes deeper than golf, talking about all the key ways that he has learned to truly rely on the team around him for their strengths. He shares why relying on others is a pivotal part of his leadership, his organization’s success, and a major component in the collaboration in his region.

Cal is one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers, recognized for his professionalism, tenacity and speed of work within the industry. Tune in now to hear more from Cal, whose warm and honest insights are particularly relatable.

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 099: Can You Be Both Collaborative and Competitive? | F. J. “Josh” Fenn, Henry County Development Authority
Episode 099: Can You Be Both Collaborative and Competitive? | F. J. “Josh” Fenn, Henry County Development Authority 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“I hope to be known as one who left everywhere he has been better than when he found it.” —F. J. “Josh” Fenn

Collaborative and yet competitive. Do you find yourself in that statement? Economic development is a delicate balance of both traits. Josh Fenn joins today and dives into how he balances fighting for his community first and foremost, while also supporting the efforts for the larger metropolitan region as a whole.

Josh also talks about the need to work harder than ever right now, and why he doesn’t mind pulling the long hours to ensure his community comes out on top. Josh shares how he reframes challenges to serve as fuel to propel him forward in his work, thus launching the community ahead through his efforts.

Sometimes it’s the most unexpected lives touched that become our beacon in darker days, guiding us ahead and keeping us grounded in our why. Josh shares the moment he met his “why” and how it still energizes him to this day. He is one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers of 2021, recognized for his tenacity in the face of COVID impacts and his dedication to the profession and his community. Tune in now to hear more!

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 098: Are You Struggling to Maintain Momentum with Projects and Timelines? | Sean Maguire, Town of Colonie, NY
Episode 098: Are You Struggling to Maintain Momentum with Projects and Timelines? | Sean Maguire, Town of Colonie, NY 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“My team knows that they can come and talk to me without judgment; it allows us to think of creative solutions to real challenges.” —Sean Maguire

Have you had problems pushing timelines forward over the last year?

You’re not alone. Today, Sean Maguire, Director of Planning and Economic Development for the Town of Colonie, NY, joins on the podcast to share how he was able to keep projects moving forward despite challenges from every directions these past 12 months. He shares his intentionality behind maintaining momentum with his community’s boards and committees in order to solve problems as quickly as possible.

In smaller communities, inter-municipality work becomes crucial. It is no secret that this work can also be really hard, balancing everyone’s goals and interests. Sean shares some really key insights into making these relationships more productive and getting more projects across the finish line.

Tune in now to hear more from this self-dubbed “PlanNerd,” though we firmly believe “PlanGenius” is more fitting!

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 097: Do You Struggle Emphasizing the Hard Work That Goes Into Your Job? | Tammy Fields, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC
Episode 097: Do You Struggle Emphasizing the Hard Work That Goes Into Your Job? | Tammy Fields, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“I live in a city that has amazing scenic beauty, but I truly believe that quality of life for people begins with a job.” —Tammy Fields

Who else struggles with telling their story and emphasizing the hard work that goes into economic development?

Tammy Fields, Senior Vice President of Economic Development at the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC joins Faye Davis, and Tammy shares well-articulated thoughts and very practical advice on not only communicating your organization’s importance to elected leaders, but also how to build and maintain strong relationships with those folks.

She has great insights about the shift from economic development being a purely business attraction industry to needing to focus on place-making and collaboration with community development organizations. Related to that, learn how motivation and seeing results are intricately woven together, and why the pandemic has tampers with that.

We’re so glad you’re joining us for another episode, tune in now to hear more!

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 096: Opportunities for Continued Learning Are Everywhere | RJ Ball, Empire State Development Corporation
Episode 096: Opportunities for Continued Learning Are Everywhere | RJ Ball, Empire State Development Corporation 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“I see companies shifting their focus and working with economic development in new and unique ways; great companies continue to use adversity to find the path to new opportunity. “ —RJ Ball

Today’s interview is full of energy! RJ Ball comes right out of the gates with the same zest that has landed him on this year’s North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers list.

As economic developers, we are always learning new skills and diving into up-and-coming industries. RJ’s talks about the pros and cons of never-ending journey to expand his knowledge on anything in life; knowing that his impatience is both his strong suit and his weakness, and that his drive may well wind up burning him out one day.

RJ also dives into his innate drive to always serve others, to help in whatever capacity possible so that others can succeed in whatever their endeavors are.

One thing is for sure: RJ is dynamite in his role, and today’s interview will have you engaged from start to finish. Tune in now to hear more!

Bio:

With an incredibly diverse background and set of experiences, RJ Ball has achieved a high level of success in the areas of business development, project management, contract negotiation, formation of strategic partnerships, and overall economic development. RJ has worked with executives from the most notable Fortune 500 companies in the world and formed successful long-term relationships with a high number of them, thus giving way to three significant promotions in the course of six years.

His current portfolio includes the 62 counties of New York State, with an emphasis on the attraction of foreign direct investment and the promotion of foreign trade. Having managed projects connected with more than 40,000 jobs across the state and more than one billion dollars of investment, he brings a creative approach to Empire State Development which has led to a substantial pipeline of quality leads and long-term projects. His self-admitted greatest strengths are in his communication skills (both written and verbal), and in his ability and willingness to solve multifaceted problems through both critical and creative thinking.

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai