Mentoring Program Aids New Economic Developers

Mentoring Program Aids New Economic Developers

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Economic Development Association is starting a new mentoring program. The idea is to educate and train new economic developers while encouraging communication and creating positive working relationships with veterans of the trade.

New business leaders will learn about current trends and challenges that might be affecting their communities, while discovering some of the opportunities available to bolster their local economies.

“Our mentors will share a wealth of knowledge and experience, we will all talk about best practices and theories,” said Jody Shields, principal consultant at Cheyenne consulting firm Align. “This is very economical in terms of training, and we will be able to share resources.”

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The mentorship program is also going to focus on professional leadership growth and community development.

Each month, mentors and mentees will use an article, video or other information to launch a discussion about different topics.

Those topics will range from how to partner with local, state and federal agencies to start projects and what is involved in workforce development to expansion strategies and helping local entrepreneurs.

The Economic Development Association developed the program from responses to a fall assessment asking about the strengths and weaknesses in various economic development areas. The study also gauged interest in becoming a mentor or mentee.

The initial program will have 10 mentor and mentee matches.

Building a network of economic developers will help new professionals to the field help their communities more effectively.


“Especially if you are in a small, rural community, sometimes it can be lonely. Knowing where to go and who to call can be difficult. This program gives you somewhere to reach out and gives you a chance, rather than spend years developing relationships, to dive right in.” – Align’s Jody Shields.


Participants must be Wyoming Economic Development Association members. To join the association, call 877-322-5446 ext. 9001 or email

The Wyoming Economic Development Association is a nonprofit professional association dedicated to providing resources, networking and lobbying efforts on behalf of its 200 members and organizations.

The first mentorship program meeting coincides with the Feb. 10 Wyoming Economic Development Association 2016 Winter Conference.

The Winter Conference features presentations on local infrastructure issues, advice on speaking with lawmakers, available resources for business owners and a breakdown of what companies are looking for when they decide to relocate.

Nationally-known site selection expert Joe Sharkey is among the keynote speakers at this year’s conference. Sharkey will talk about the importance of infrastructure like water, broadband and electricity in recruiting companies.

More than 100 people are expected to attend the conference.

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