Client Spotlight - Linda DiMario
22 Sep 2020
News, Blog, Client Spotlight
Linda DiMario is currently an Economic Development Consultant at the Greater Irvine Chamber. She is convinced that she has always been in economic development. Whether the political area of elections and policy or influencing and contributing to the economic vitality of a community by hotel sales, tourism development, marketing, or business attraction and retention - the economy is directly impacted by absolutely every sector and almost all decisions we make.
Linda grew up being shuttled back and forth between New York and California six times, attended 17 schools, and lived in 22 different homes. She was born in a little farm town south of Buffalo, NY where her father was from, but looking for work took the family back and forth from New York to Los Angeles, where Linda and her mother were raised. When Linda graduated high school, she joined the Air Force because she knew it was the only way she could find her way out of the farm town and into college.
Linda was attracted to politics early in life, charged up by the civil rights activism and the courage of John Lewis. Her degree in Political Science led her to manage political campaigns which were rewarding, but fairly hazardous. She launched a meeting planning company, ultimately selling that and going into hotel sales management work which introduced her to the larger scope of economic development.
"My life and all my career choices and jobs seem to reflect my childhood: pack up, look forward, and drive. Sometimes there are detours, and sometimes it's a straight road. Sometimes there are hairpin turns and unexpected obstacles. But there is always an adventure out there," said Linda. "I believe that confidence, experience, and expertise, combined with fearless determination and boundless curiosity will lead you to the right places at the right time for the right reasons."
As we're sure most of you know, economic development work is more encompassing than most think. In Linda's words, "It's not just about making a deal, landing a company, or creating jobs. The work we do is literally at the core of a community's ability to grow and thrive and strike a balance between commerce and quality of life. The skillset of an effective economic developer includes the capacity to inspire people to help you get a job done."
Some of Linda's favorite aspects of her job include working with people/companies to explore options and connecting them with resources that help them make good decisions about their business - expansion, investment, workforce development - and actually see the difference she is making in a community. Her greatest success is whenever she makes a positive difference in a community, company, or life - and we can tell you, she does that a lot!
With this career comes challenges, as you all know, especially now with the COVID-19 pandemic taking over. Currently, the challenges for economic development have never been greater and Linda agrees. This nation's recovery and long-term health will depend greatly on the tough decisions we all make right now and the courage we exercise to influence those tough choices. Before COVID, Linda defined some challenges that had more to do with incentives. So many towns, cities, counties, and even states may actually be a perfect, long term fit for a relocating company," said Linda. "Incentives are alluring but short-term gratification. I would prefer to see these incentives invested in the broad hard and soft infrastructure of the community which would likely yield a better long-term ROI."
When considering advice that she could give to other economic developers, Linda stated, "Understand your environment and then listen and learn so you know how to best rally available talent and resources to a common purpose. Then, make the commitment and fearlessly and purposefully lead."
At Golden Shovel Agency, we know that you want to be a respected leader of a growing community. Our goal is to help you get there. We understand how frustrating it can be to not get noticed or falling behind the competition. That's why we focus on organizations like yours. Economic development is what we live and breathe. We currently support over 230 organizations across the U.S. and Canada. In an effort to recognize some of the greatest economic developers we work with, we share these client spotlights to inspire you and give you insights on the successes and challenges that they face.
Know someone who is doing awesome economic development work? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd really love to hear from you!
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