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LVEDC Attends World’s Largest Meeting of Economic Development Professionals

By Colin McEvoy on September 28, 2022

A representative from the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) attended the largest yearly gathering of economic development professionals from across the country and around the world.

Nicole Radzievich Mertz, LVEDC Director of Market Research and Communications, attended the International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) 2021 Annual Conference, which was held in Oklahoma City from Sept. 18 to 21.

The event discussed the unprecedented challenges facing economic development professionals today, and sought to provide invaluable industry insight from experts about such topics as economic reinvention, community innovation, and disaster recovery and resiliency.

“The IEDC conference provided a rich opportunity to share ideas with our peers about what works in a quickly changing economy, glean insights from the nation’s top leaders in economic development and develop relationships that will help LVEDC promote the Lehigh Valley as an attractive place to do business,” Radzievich Mertz said.

IEDC is the largest membership association serving economic and community development professionals in the world. With more than 5,000 members nationwide and abroad, IEDC provides services that position its members for success in the United States and around the world, from training courses and webinars to cutting-edge publications and conferences.

Held at the Oklahoma City Convention Center, this year’s IEDC Annual Conference included speakers, panel discussions, and sessions on such topics as leadership development, fostering talent, supporting economic opportunity, economic transformation, and promoting the economic development profession.

During the event, LVEDC was also presented with two of IEDC’s prestigious Excellence and Leadership in Economic Development Awards: a Bronze Award for Best Special Purpose Website for lehighvalleypaworks.com, and a Gold Award for Best Annual Report. This marks the fifth consecutive time LVEDC has been recognized by IEDC for its annual report.

“These awards are a wonderful validation of the effectiveness of our economic development and marketing efforts,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham. “It’s a true honor to be recognized by the largest association for professional economic developers in the world.”

In January, LVEDC was recognized as an Accredited Economic Development Organization by IEDC for the fourth consecutive time, having first become accredited in 2010. LVEDC is one of 70 economic development organizations recognized with this accreditation.

During the conference, Radzievich Mertz attended several sessions outlining storytelling techniques to enhance the marketing of our region and strategies to amplify our message. These techniques and strategies can be utilized by LVEDC to enhance its own economic development marketing efforts for the Lehigh Valley.

The event afforded the opportunity to attend an annual meeting of accredited organizations to share successes from the past year, as well as to network with peers, meet with vendors, and review the latest products used by economic development professionals, Radzievich Mertz said.

She also attended several roundtable and panel discussion, featuring such speakers as Nathan Ohole, President & CEO of IEDC; Mary Ellen Wiederwhol, President & CEO of Accelerator of America; David Holt, Mayor of Oklahoma City; Chris Anoatubby, Lieutenant Governor of the Chickasaw Nation; Dennis Alvord, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development of the U.S. Economic Development Administration; and more.

The conference also included a case study on how the bond between community leaders and artists transformed Brooklyn. The study was led by Karen Brooks Hopkins, who was president of Brooklyn Academy of Music, and New York City Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Laurie Cumbo.

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This column, written by LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham, originally appeared in The Morning Call and on the newspaper's website on September 25, 2022. This column is [...]

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