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Develop This: Economic and Community Development

Dec 27, 2023

In this episode, contributing correspondent Joi Cuartero Austin is joined by Jackie Swihart, Program Officer with Main Street America. Joi and Jackie discuss Leadership and board burnout

 Economic development is challenging, with a lot of responsibility in building community prosperity, which is why you need a strong vision, good planning, and even better leadership at the helm of economic development and other partner organizations. Furthermore, if we weren’t already having trouble keeping good staff and board members, the pandemic really highlighted challenges with recruitment and retention. So, what can organizations do to help with leadership burnout and cultivate a strong pipeline?


  • Great Resignation or Turnover Tsunami: Do you think it’s slowing down?
  • What do you think expectations are now when hiring for leadership staff roles?


  • Difficulty in recruiting and retaining volunteers.
  • What has changed in volunteerism in general?


Our work usually takes us into disinvested communities, whether rural or neighborhood commercial districts, where nonprofit/community organizations often operate with limited resources. How do you navigate resource constraints while still striving for meaningful impact?

With the communities you have worked with, are there any trends you have been seeing with staff and board members as it pertains to burnout?

Economic development work can be demanding. How do you balance the need for ambitious goals with the well-being of your team members to prevent burnout?

How important is collaboration with local partners, businesses, and government entities in the success of economic development initiatives in these communities in avoiding burnout?

How do you recognize and address signs of burnout among your team members?

What should organizations be prioritizing to help keep staff and build better boards?