professional development

Episode 175: Do You Use Your Tools in Non-Traditional Ways? You Might Want To! | Joe Agostinelli, Grand Rapids Area Revitalization
Episode 175: Do You Use Your Tools in Non-Traditional Ways? You Might Want To! | Joe Agostinelli, Grand Rapids Area Revitalization 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“If you can think of the project through a different lens, there is often a way you can leverage a non-traditional tool to fit the project you’re working on.” –Joe Agostinelli

The cost of materials and goods for projects is a topic we are all too familiar with right now. It often seems that incentive support is the only way to make some of our deals economically feasible. How do we creatively leverage programs to make every dollar and cent count?

On this episode, Faye Davis talks with Joe Agostinelli of the Grand Rapids Area Revitalization Task Force on creative deal structuring. Joe let’s us in on insights of looking at common tools we know about differently and how that is the key to being able to layer financial tools.We dive into the uniqueness of the Michigan Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act compared to other states and how reimbursements play a role.

Joe can count on one hand the amount of no votes he has received from local government officials on project tools. He shares his key to success and how investing time on the front end is never a waste. Tune in today to this wisdom packed episode!

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

Episode 174: How Can You Continue Leveling Up Your Leadership Skills?
Episode 174: How Can You Continue Leveling Up Your Leadership Skills? 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” –Barack Obama

As this year comes to a close and a new year looms, lots of people are thinking about new year’s resolutions, setting goals for next year, and working on strategies to become a better leader. And while “be a better leader” can feel incredibly broad, the key lies in naming what good leadership looks like to you. What feels authentic? How do you want to show up? Once you have answers there, you can build your plan.

Carla Sones and Faye Davis dive into some tried-and-true (and research-backed) ways for people to level up their leadership. From advice regarding time management and delegating to closing the door on the rumor mill, the topics addressed during their conversation are very broad. Constant learning, empowering critical thinking skills in others, and leadership coaching; these all come up and play their own part in bringing a person’s leadership skills to the next level.

A lot of people struggle to find a leadership style that not only works for them but also resonates with their team. If you’re trying to figure out how to be the best you while leading your community, today’s episode is chockful of great questions to ask yourself in order to start bridging your gap between who you currently are and who you strive to be. Listen in now!

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

Episode 173: Why You Need to Identify What Makes Your Leadership Tick | Heather Ennis, Northwest Indiana Forum
Episode 173: Why You Need to Identify What Makes Your Leadership Tick | Heather Ennis, Northwest Indiana Forum 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“The biggest part of learning anything is taking your ego out of it. Nobody has all of the answers.” –Heather Ennis

Gathering knowledge and building expertise are cornerstones of the work economic developers do. We have to be lifelong learners, always keeping abreast of new developments and trends within industries. So how can you continue to build that vast library of information in your leadership? What is it that makes knowledge stick and how do you stay current with the proverbial slang of our profession?

Faye Davis had the chance to catch up with Northwest Indiana Forum President and CEO Heather Ennis and had a great conversation about how Heather spun out of the manufacturing and sales industry into economic development, what lessons she took with her along the way, and how she continues to build and expand her expertise to serve her region best. She shares the one phrase she’s never afraid to say to people, and dives into how that phrase has helped her build strong relationships in every corner of her region.

One of the keys to impactful leadership in economic development is humility; today, Heather shares a lot of insight how her focus on being transparent, authentic and humble has served her well, and her advice to new leaders in the economic development industry is enlightening. Hit “play” now to soak up Heather’s wisdoms!

 

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

Episode 172: How Can You Employ Professional Vulnerability to Build a More Effective Team?
Episode 172: How Can You Employ Professional Vulnerability to Build a More Effective Team? 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“What we know matters but who we are matters more.” –Brené Brown

Before you click away, stick with us for just a minute; we know that the word “vulnerability” can alienate people quickly. When we are talking about needing to be more vulnerable in our professional lives, we don’t mean sitting around in a circle and sharing our deepest, toughest secrets and traumas. Professional vulnerability shows up differently, and it is a vital part of healthy leadership which builds trust and effectiveness.

On today’s episode, Carla Sones and Faye Davis dive into the research backing vulnerable leadership. The two of them dissect what vulnerability is and, perhaps more importantly, is not. As Brené Brown aptly puts it, “letting it all hang out” is not an appropriate iteration of the behavior. Employing vulnerability in an appropriate fashion will help you foster an environment to grow an agile and engaged organization.

If you’re looking for ways to show up more authentically and build more trust with your team, today’s episode will provide you with concrete actions to implement in your leadership journey. Listen in now to hear more!

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

Episode 171: Creating an Entrepreneurial Support System Will Pay Dividends in Talent | Kim Grant, Invest Buffalo Niagara
Episode 171: Creating an Entrepreneurial Support System Will Pay Dividends in Talent | Kim Grant, Invest Buffalo Niagara 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Buffalo, as a whole, has been involved in supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem and its innovation for a long time.” –Kim Grant

Why should economic development organizations implement a strategy for supporting entrepreneurs? Can these efforts make a difference in attracting talent? And if so, what elements should be part of the support network for start-ups?

Kim Grant, Vice President of Business Development at Invest Buffalo Niagara, joins Faye Davis to talk about the Buffalo region’s focus on entrepreneurialism and start-ups. She talks through the last decade or so of building their supportive climate, and why it has proven so fruitful. Kim candidly notes that there is no silver bullet, and immediately dives into the different components of the regional culture that make it possible for new business ventures to thrive.

Kim collaborated with the Consultant Connect team on an article for FDI Alliance International Magazine called “Why Magnetic Communities’ Emphasis on Start-ups and Small Business Creates Fertile Soil for Big Business Too” and on today’s podcast she again shines as she shares insight and advice into an area she is clearly extremely passionate about. Invest Buffalo Niagara has a great program and website for incoming residents called Be In Buffalo. Check out their website for inspiration, and to hear more about their strategy, tune in now!

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

Episode 170: What Role Does Trust Play in Balancing Transparency and Confidentiality?
Episode 170: What Role Does Trust Play in Balancing Transparency and Confidentiality? 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Confidentiality and transparency are not mutually exclusive, but rather they are two sides of the same coin.” –Thomas de Maiziere

In business these days, there is an ever-increasing amount of conversation around transparent relationships. And for good reason; employees working for companies with high levels of transparency report higher engagement and commitment, as well as talk about being part of a business with high ethical standards. What doesn’t always get its fair share of airtime is how to balance this increasing transparency with an ever-present need for confidentiality, especially in the economic development industry. Treading the charged space between these two potential polarizations is not easy and can only be done through the lens of trust.

On today’s episode, Carla Sones and Faye Davis dive into what transparency really means in a business culture, and hash out why it’s often misunderstood by employees. They talk about how too much transparency creates chaos, and share tips on how to create a culture of productive information sharing.

If you have ever wondered how you can create a transparent culture that respects confidentiality, you’ll enjoy today’s conversation. Carla and Faye answer questions like what the job of a leader is in filtering information, how to decide what information is helpful to share and what is harmful, how leaders can share the information needed without looking like they’re purposely withholding, how to scale communication efforts as a team grows, and more. Tune in now!

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

Episode 169: How Can Formal Trainings Boost Communication and Partnership Efforts? | Kenny McDonald, One Columbus
Episode 169: How Can Formal Trainings Boost Communication and Partnership Efforts? | Kenny McDonald, One Columbus 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Most economic development leaders have something to say and are good people to say it within their communities; they’re trusted entities. It’s important to be able to communicate clearly about where you stand and what the focus is.” –Kenny McDonald

Project announcements are happening left and right in most communities, and one thing that can always be stressful is how to handle the media requests surrounding those announcements. How will this new attraction plug into the community culture, what future vision does the company bring with it and how will it impact the region for the better?

Join us for a special relaunch episode today. At the beginning of the year, Carla Sones had the pleasure of picking Kenny McDonald‘s brain about things like interacting with the media in times of increased community sensitivity to all things social responsibility, as well as how the Columbus region structures onboarding for new elected officials to ensure they’re fighting the same good fight for improving quality of life in the community. Their entire conversation is incredibly relevant still 10 months later, and may even carry more meaning today for economic development leaders.

Kenny is being celebrated today as one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers, recognized for the amazing work he did in 2020 as Chair of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Board of Directors and the impact he continues to have in the Greater Columbus region at the helm of One Columbus. Starting in January 2022, Kenny will be taking on a new challenge as CEO of the Columbus Partnership. He’s a true industry titan with deep insights and thoughtful wisdoms to share. Tune in now to hear more!

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

Episode 168: Why Putting the Mission Ahead of Our Ego Will Create Positive Momentum
Episode 168: Why Putting the Mission Ahead of Our Ego Will Create Positive Momentum 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Maturity is humility. The mature person need not experience the satisfaction of ‘I told you so.'” –Ann Landers

As economic developers, we often have an inkling about the direction our communities need to be moving way before it becomes mainstream knowledge. Sometimes, we spend years attempting to teach community partners about impending developments and needs coming our way, only to be met with resistance, apathy or disinterest. So what happens when push comes to shove?

When we’ve been feeling like a broken record and all of a sudden the community realizes they need to come alongside, it’s all too tempting to say “Hello?! I’ve been saying this for years!” or even “I told you so!” Though in the moment this may feel good, these are not productive nor unifying responses. Then the question becomes, how should we respond in such a moment and why is the way we react imperative?

Faye Davis picks Carla Sones‘ brain on today’s episode about balancing the organizational mission, the future vision, and the personal ego as economic developers continue to fight the good fight of informing their community and staying ahead of trends. Join the two of them as they talk about strategies for responding well, why meeting people in the moment with excitement and energy will capitalize on momentum, and how they can keep the inertia going long term. Hit play now to listen in!

 

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

Episode 167: Five Reasons Why Econ Dev Research Is Critical to Attraction, Retention and Expansion | Emily Jerkins, Birmingham Business Alliance
Episode 167: Five Reasons Why Econ Dev Research Is Critical to Attraction, Retention and Expansion | Emily Jerkins, Birmingham Business Alliance 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“The shift facing our community and communities across the nation means economic developers must be agile and cultivate assets, like workforce, policy and brands, like never before. “ –Emily Jerkins

How are research professionals becoming increasingly vital to economic development work? Why is their time and effort foundationally critical to understanding regions and guiding future strategies? And, simultaneously, what makes this work a great starting point for aspiring economic developers?

Join Faye Davis today as she talks with Emily Jerkins, managing partner at the Birmingham Business Alliance. Emily shares five reasons that research fuels better business attraction, retention and expansion, and how organizations can use this discipline to move the needle for all stakeholders. Think along the lines of understanding your community, telling your story, driving change, understanding losses, and improving processes. She shares how curiosity is a driving force for her and why mastering her craft is personally important.

Emily is one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers, recognized not only for her constant drive to improve in the research field, but also for her ability to bring affinity groups together. Listen in now as she shares a peek behind the research curtain and also dives into how she helped create not one but two professional affinity groups!

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

Episode 166: 4 Ways to Keep Perfectionism from Killing Productivity
Episode 166: 4 Ways to Keep Perfectionism from Killing Productivity 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Don’t let perfection be the enemy of productivity.” –Alice Boyes

We’ve all been there. A big project is due, the pressure is mounting, you have the whole thing basically ready to go but it’s missing a few of those final details. There’s a hard deadline looming for the whole deliverable, and yet you can’t seem to send it off. Why? Because it’s not perfect.

Today, Faye Davis and Carla Sones dive into how a tendency toward perfectionism kills productivity. The two dive into all the unintended consequences from missing the bus on innovation and losing thought leadership, all the way to the impact to leaders’ discernment and collaboration. And sometimes, procrastination masquerades as perfectionism.

So, what can you do to prevent perfectionism from hampering your productivity? Hit the play button now to hear four ways to keep the bus moving forward with intention!

 

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