Women's Economic Development Council

Go Plan, Do and Achieve GREAT things!

16 Dec 2014 9:08 PM | Sandra Edwards
In October of 2012, the Women’s’ Economic Development Council celebrated its 20th year of existence.  During this celebration, there was much reflection on the past 20 years as well as the next 20 years. Part of this reflection was to determine if the mission was still appropriate and still the role of the organization. It was decide no change to the mission was needed. The mission was still as relevant today as it had been. But the organization’s activity needed to be refocused.

The mission of the WEDC is to provide opportunities to women for leadership and economic development through education, mentoring and networking. The WEDC exists to strengthen the position of women in business and the community.

The 2013 incoming President chose a theme of “Moving Forward” and decided it was time to revamp and re-build the organization for the next 20 years. Through focus groups, the leadership team gathered information and ideas from current members and put together a long-term strategic plan, to include new goals, a recruiting plan and creating a new vision for the organization.
As WEDC entered the year 2014, the new incoming President wanting to continue this journey used the theme, “Moving Forward from Good to Great,” based from the inspiration she received through the book of Jim Collins.  Throughout the year, WEDC members studied the book and delved into topics such as creating a culture of discipline, the hedgehog concept, and the flywheel principle, to name a few. The goal: to build WEDC from Good to Great, as well as member’s individual businesses and individual’s personal growth. 
This plan continued the written objective of the strategic plan and carried them forward. One of the strategic initiatives was to spread the influence of WEDC and to reach as many others as possible.  The WEDC is proud to have held our first comprehensive Leadership Conference entitled, Your Journey to Great Leadership & Capitalizing on Your Strengths. Thus fulfilling a goal of our strategic plan and being the culminating event of the year as a result of the effort and work of our membership. On Nov 13th and 14th 200 women (and a few brave men) came together to strive towards Greatness.
The purpose of the conference was for WEDC to spread its influence and provide Education, Mentoring, and Networking opportunities to women in North Alabama and the State of Alabama. The conference was targeted toward Emerging Leaders, Transitioning Leaders as well as Executive Leaders. This cross section of leaders of all levels provided a unique aspect to the conference, to bring them together to learn and share with each other and build relationships.
A great deal of hard work went into the event to ensure that the conference was content rich and high-quality. WEDC wanted braggingly happy participants who would leave the Conference both enriched and invigorated to make a positive difference in their own lives or in the lives of others.
The conference provided participants a Strengths Assessment Tool, Insights on Leadership, Networking and Mentoring Opportunities, Educational Training Materials, and a venue to Build Relationships. The conference was a huge success as participants have shared many takeaways and actions they will take forward.
WEDC is very excited to have been able to provide such a high quality event to the community. But through the process we benefited so much more. By keeping our strategic plan on the forefront and revisiting it quarterly, we have been able to be a more effective organization and have stayed on task with more focus. We have accomplished so much this year!  We have held political forums, raised money at record levels for our Foundation, built bridges with many other community organizations. Also, by involving all members in the process we brought our group together and worked as a team creating closer bonds to each other. It was wonderful to see new people step up and get more involved.
As we enter the year 2015 we are getting the Plan back out to review, update and see what the next big goal is. What GREAT things can we do in the future? 
So when was the last time your team came together to dream the big dreams? When was the last time you visited your strategic plan? When was the last time you checked something off your strategic plan task list? 
Strategic planning provides the roadmap for organizations to move forward toward the achievement of their goals and objectives and, ultimately, their mission and vision. To be effective, strategic planning must encompass all levels of organization with involvement from as many as possible and practicable. But it has to be a living document, don’t let it sit on your shelf. It must be visited and updated frequently, flexible enough to be adjusted as circumstances occur and not so rigid that creativity is stifled.
So go plan, do and achieve GREAT things!

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