Your Partner in Growing Your Community

MEDA Emerging Leaders Spring Training

2023 EL Spring TrainingThis yearly event will be held on Thursday, April 20, 2023, at the MML office in Lansing.

This special half-day is created by emerging leaders in economic development for their peers. Sessions will let you to better understand core areas of economic development down to the terminology used by the well-versed.

In order to develop the best conference, a volunteer committee of MEDA members meets regularly to plan this event and other programs and services for emerging leaders in economic development. Click here to learn more about the Emerging Leaders Committee.


8:00 a.m. Registration Opens

8:30 a.m. Growing Digital and Broadband Access for Equity and Inclusion
This session will focus on how broadband access contributes to equity and inclusion. How can access be approached at a holistic level? How do we create a digital ecosystem?
Autumn Evans, Deputy Director, Digital Inclusion, City of Detroit
Allie Herkenroder, Digital Equity Director, Michigan High-Speed Internet Office 

9:30 a.m. Coffee Break

9:45 a.m. Networking & Professional Etiquette
As networking is one of the most important economic development components, get advice on freshening up your networking skills and make sure you are not breaking any etiquette laws.
Cindy Brown, Employer Development Manager, Grand Valley State University

10:45 a.m. Networking Break

11:05 a.m. Growing as an Emerging Leader in Economic Development
Gain perspective from already recognized emerging leaders in economic development as to how their career started in economic development; how they became recognized, met expectations, and what you can expect as you grow in your career.
Moderator: Zach Morris, EDFP, Executive Director, Market Van Buren
Panelists: Keyra Cokley, Managing Partner, Reaching Across Communities with Economics (RACE)
Jake Eckholm, Director of Development Services, City of Muskegon
Sam Fountain, Economic and Community Development Director, Mundy Township

12:15 p.m. Break/Grab Your Lunch

12:35 p.m. The Next Two Years
Learn how economic developers, EDO’s, and communities, can position themselves in the next two years given the newly elected legislature. What can we expect?
Moderator: Rusty Merchant, Partner, McAlvey, Merchant & Associates
Barb Farrah, Lobbyist, Governmental Consultant Services, Inc.
Chris Fisher, Partner, Midwest Strategy Group
Kate Skaggs, Partner, The WinMatt Group

1:30 p.m. Adjourn

Thanking Our Sponsors

Merit Network

Merit NetworkNetwork. Security. Community. Merit’s Mission is connecting organizations and building community. We provide networking, security, and community services to member organizations that help make our society a better place to learn, discover, work and live – while upholding the principles of an open internet.

Contact Jameka Williams, Merit Network, Director Member Engagement, PH: 734-527-5731,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You Can Still Sponsor This Event

Emerging Leaders Spring Training Sponsorship Package ($500)

  • (1) Complimentary Registration
  • Electronic Mailing List of Attendees
  • Introduce Speakers (optional)
  • Logo on Event Emails
  • Logo on Event Handouts
  • Logo on Event Rotating Banner on MEDA Homepage
  • Logo on Program Webpage with Description, and Contact Information
  • Opportunity to Address the Audience
  • Social Media Promotion
  • Sponsorship Screen Display with Logo and Contact Information

Contact Cassandra at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in being a sponsor for the event. Limited to 4.


Early Rates - MEDA Members: $70*/Non-Members: $80**
Regular Rates - MEDA Members $85*/Non-Members $95** (Starts on April 13)

*MEDA Members, if you joined in the last 12 months, you may still have a New Member Coupon that you can use to attend this program for free. Ask This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

**If not a member of MEDA, ask This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. how you can attend this program for free by joining MEDA.

Recertification Credits

This event has been approved for (1) continuing education credit for Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) certification from the National Development Council (NDC). Use the form on this page to claim your credit.


Cancellations must be received in writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 24 hours prior to the event in order to receive a refund. Attendees who do not attend or cancel will be charged the full registration fee.

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Corporate Sponsors

Bedrock Clipped consumers-energy
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Contact Us

Michigan Economic
Developers Association
P.O. Box 15096
Lansing, MI 48901-5096
PH: 517-241-0011