Cullen Named to IDA’s 2023 Emerging Leader Fellowship Program

Rock Island Downtown Alliance (RIDA) Executive Director Jack Cullen was one of 30 selected by the International Downtown Association (IDA) for the 2023 Emerging Leader Fellowship (ELF) program.

ELF is a week-long experiential program bringing together a cohort of IDA professionals from within the urban district management industry. The fellows learn essential leadership and place management skills and gain practical tools in the areas of place-based economic development, the live-work-play experience and public-private partnerships.

“This is an incredible opportunity from IDA, and it could not have come at a better time as we look to make a positive impact in downtown Rock Island through our new place management organization,” Cullen said. “I am eager to connect with downtown leaders from across North America and bring industry best practices back to the Quad Cities.”

ELF participants hail from 25 cities from around North America, including Washington, DC; San Diego, CA; Moncton, NB; Rock Island, IL; Cleveland, OH; Houston, TX; Denver, CO; and Winnipeg, MB. Alumni of the IDA Emerging Leader Fellowship program, launched in 2016, are fast becoming sought-after leaders for the future of city building worldwide.

“The success of our Fellowship program underscores how critical this training is to our growing industry,” said David Downey, President and CEO of IDA. “This is the only program of its kind created specifically for urban place management professionals. IDA is looking to further illustrate the importance of our industry by elevating leaders with the necessary skills to champion inclusive city building. Professional development remains a hallmark of IDA.”

Cullen spearheaded the partnership between the Quad Cities Chamber and the City of Rock Island to recently create the dedicated downtown organization, RIDA. He works closely with public officials and downtown stakeholders, including the RIDA Board of Directors, to manage the Downtown Special Service Area (SSA) and provide place management services for the betterment of downtown.

“The International Downtown Association is looking to build the future of our industry, and these accomplished executives are the rising stars of our profession,” said Downey. “With this program, we’re educating and inspiring the next generation of leaders.”

The program takes place June 4-9, 2023, in New York City. Professionals from several place management organizations across the city provide technical in-the-field training. The event takes place at various locations throughout Manhattan with field visits provided by several local Business Improvement District leaders.

For more information about this program, visit IDA’s website.