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President's Message

If you had told me 18 years ago when I entered the world of economic development that in 2024, I would be the President of the largest economic development association in Canada I most definitely would not have believed you, but here we are.

As a resident from a small town in southwestern Ontario, I am honoured to serve as the 2024 President of EDCO. Several years into my career I discovered this great organization, one that provides amazing networking, professional development, mentorship support, and a top-notch conference. Early on I became engaged in various committees like the conference, membership, and professional development committees. These committees allowed me to gain a better understanding of the work of EDCO and more importantly to connect with amazing economic developers from across Ontario, many of you who are still involved today! In 2020 I joined the EDCO Board of Directors.

The reason I share my background is simple, if you are not already a member of EDCO you should be, and if you’re not engaged in our organization, you should be. The benefits really are immeasurable. Thanks to previous Boards and Staff EDCO is well positioned to take our profession to the next level. In 2023, we had over 1,200 members, partnered with member communities to host 4 successful regional events with over 160 attendees and welcomed over 30 MPPs to learn more about EDCO and the work of economic developers at our Queen’s Park Event.  We wrapped up a very successful My Main Street Program that helped support over 1,000 businesses, contributed over $6.5 million to those businesses and saw 200 businesses grow sales and create over 600 jobs! I would like to thank our amazing Executive Director Stephanie Crilly who for most of the year ran a one woman show and did so extremely well. I also want to thank our Marketing and Project Coordinator Laura DeMille who joined our team in August and who has fit in seamlessly, delivering excellent service. To the 2024 Board of Directors and Liaison Directors I look forward to working with you to deliver the quality programs and supports our members deserve and expect from EDCO.

In closing I want to thank you, our EDCO members, without you there is no EDCO! We have heard over and over that our members value EDCO for the professional development and networking opportunities, and we hear you when you say you want us to raise the profile of the valuable work economic developers do across this province, and we are looking for more ways to do just that. You are community connectors and champions and work tirelessly to make your communities and our province a better place to live, work and play and we are here to support you every step of the way. If there is something you feel EDCO can do to help you in your work please don’t hesitate to reach out, I am here to listen.

Belinda Wick-Graham
President, Economic Developers Council of Ontario

Belinda Wick-Graham

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