June 12th, 2021

EDA Xperience summit and conference set for next week


By Nikki Jamieson SOUTHERN ALBERTA NEWSPAPERS ssnews@sunnysouthnews.com on May 14, 2021.

This year, you can enjoy an annual gathering for Economic Developers Alberta from the comfort of your own couch.
For the first time, EDA will be combining their summit and conference and will be going virtual in a two-day event, the EDA Xperience 2021, Leaders’ Summit and Conference.
“Every year, we actually have a conference where we bring together economic development professionals and industry leaders from across the province and beyond. This year, obviously, we have to bring them together virtually,” said Leann Hackman Carty, CEO of Economic Developers Alberta.
“It’s about reinventing, reimagining Alberta post-pandemic, and looking forward to a bright future we all work to together,” said Trevor Lewington, Economic Developers Alberta president and CEO of Economic Development Lethbridge and mayor of the Village of Stirling.
“It’s going to have economic professionals at the table, it’s going to have industry leaders of key sectors in Alberta like tourism, technology and agriculture at the table, as well as elected officials who are the decision makers. So if we’re going to be aligning policy with what’s required to support industry, we need to have everybody at the same event and exchanging those ideas.”
May 19 will serve as the leaders’summit, which is “future focused,” and will see industry leaders talk about where they see their sector today along with future opportunities.
“A lot of people presenting on that first day are not traditionally ones we have had as part of our conference,” said Hackman Carty. “These really are all the major sectors, groups that are somehow involved in our economy, really giving their perspective. So, we’ve really broadened the net quite a bit this year.
“COVID was definitely something we had to address, but the result is we’ve developed so many more partnerships, and people are collaborating like never before. For me, that’s pretty exciting, because when it comes to our economy, we all have to work together.”
May 20 will be the day of the annual conference, which will focus on what “practical things we can do to move our economy forward.”
Last year, organizers had to postpone their March conference two weeks before it was due to take place, and ended up holding a virtual one in November. While organizers hoped to be able to hold the 2021 conference in Kananaskis, they were unable to do so and decided to hold the conference and summit together online. The majority of the presenters will be doing so in panels, allowing a wide-range of views on any single topic.
“No one person can give you every angle, right? So I think even the fact you could have five different perspectives on the same thing, would be interesting.”
Lewington, who has served in elected official and economic development roles, says the summit and conference will help the different groups understand how each other works.
“Elected officials, the decisions they make, essentially create a supportive environment for economic development. And so in order to make those intelligent decisions, we need economic developers to educate elected officials. And at the same, elected officials are also accountable to the public, so economic developers need to understand the pressures their elected officials are under, and this is the kind of event where we can hopefully bring both sides together – not only to hear each other, but like I said, hear from industry and figure out a path forward for the province.”
People can register for the event at xperienceeda.ca. The first 300 conference participants will receive an Xperience Box, worth approximately $200 retail, full of unique local Alberta products.

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