Jeffrey Finkle, President and CEO of the International Economic Development Council, joined us for this month’s episode of Economic Development Secrets. As the leader of the largest economic development membership organization in the world, Jeff shared with the audience a plethora of advice to help you be more efficient in your community’s economic development activities. Check out the excerpt below to read his thoughts on how elected officials can play an active role in their community’s economic development activities:
I think there are two fundamental ways. One, are they willing to help make the sale? In fact, if you go to our website, you can pull down a list of our public leadership award winners. I have seen some fabulous local elected officials who’ve taken real leadership roles and sometimes, based on just sheer personality, are able to help improve the economic development climate and success rate because they’re willing to be the chief salesperson for the community.
My favorite mayor was the mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Hazel McCallion. I think Hazel stepped down at the age of 92. Her moniker or nickname was Hurricane Hazel, but she was the ultimate economic development mayor. She pushed and she pushed and she pushed. It’s probably one of the few million-population cities you’ve never heard of in North America before, but she was mayor for next to forever. It went from a lazy farm town to a million people in the suburbs of Toronto. She was clearly that game-changer in terms of the economic development efforts.
The second is the mayor as the person that pushes the economic development program along and makes sure it meets its metrics, makes sure that there’s a strategic plan that people are using, and takes a leadership role in making sure that economic development is not only done well, but it succeeds because there are a set of metrics that they’re trying to achieve.
Click the player below to listen to the full episode: