Peer Knowledge Exchange Series

This series is designed to help readers learn from their peers and Executive Directors as they share lessons learned and strategies for addressing the many challenges they’ve faced. Members of NADO’s Executive Committee and current and retired Executive Directors are profiled. Scroll down to read their insights and hear their stories. 

Letters to My Younger Self

In this series members of NADO’s Executive Team reflect on their careers and provide advice to their younger selves.

Want to know who recommends investing in Zoom? Ideas on how to engage your board? How to invest your time?
Continue reading to find out more and maybe learn some ideas you can take back to your organization!

Wisdom from Retired Executive Directors

Learn from former EDD executive directors as they offer advice to new executive directors, share what they wish they knew at the start of their career and what they learned upon retirement.

Executive Director Profile Series

Executive Directors around the country have many unique experiences including managing EDDs and navigating leadership changes, growing an organization, facing financial shortfalls, and deciding how to prioritize programming.  The following interviews share their stories and include key takeaways that can assist others who may face similar challenges.

Managing A Small Economic Development District

Many Districts are making tremendous impacts in their regions despite having a small staff and often covering a large geographic area. Read on to learn from these three Executive Directors about how they prioritize projects, manage partnerships and work to creatively serve their communities. 

Growing An Organization

Learn about the different paths three directors took to grow their organizations, build partnerships and support their communities. These organizations, located in very diverse parts of the country, have grown to become leaders in their communities and key partners who have developed tailoring programming to meet regional needs.

Leadership Transitions

EDD executive directors share their unique retirement strategies and their path to leadership as mentored by their predecessor, including takeaways for current executive directors initiating their retirement strategies.

Surviving Organizational Turmoil

Three EDD executive directors share the challenges they faced when they assumed the helm of the organization, including takeaways on how to address the situation head on and the important roles that peers can have throughout the process.


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Joe McKinney serves as Executive Director of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO). Headquartered in Washington DC, NADO provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s 500+ regional planning and development organizations.

Joe has thirty-one years of experience having served in city, county, regional, national association, and government management since 1991. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a candidate for a master’s degree in Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.

McKinney has provided congressional testimony on numerous occasions regarding the importance of regional development organizations in helping shape the nation’s economic growth. He is nationally recognized for promoting innovative solutions in areas such as planning and economic development, workforce development, transportation and transit, and aging services.

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