The unique contributions of Women to economic development: Some insights from Amy Madison - Executive Director, PCDC
15 Apr 2023
Amy Madison is the Executive Director at the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation. She has worked in this field since 2001 and is among the many women who have successfully navigated a traditionally male-dominated profession. When Madison started working in economic development, she was often the only woman in the room. However, she says things have changed significantly with the passage of time. According to Madison, the profession has become more welcoming to women today, and many women serve in economic development positions.
Forever Onward: Amy Madison’s Journey on the Path of Economic Development
In 2014, Amy Madison was hired as the Assistant Executive Director of the Pflugerville Economic Development Corporation and advanced to Executive Director in July 2015, becoming the first woman to hold the position. While Pflugerville had always been a welcoming community for women, she knew that her actions would help shape the future of women in the community. Two years later, after her appointment, the city hired a female police chief. In 2019, the Chamber hired a female president, and the City of Pflugerville hired a female city manager. Together, these women formed what was affectionately called the "PFab PFour." They were celebrated in the community for their commitment to promoting diversity and contributing to economic wellness. Madison says,” All of a sudden, here we were, four women leading the community and being called the PFab Pfour. It demonstrates how attuned to diversity our community was then and how welcoming this community continues to be for women. Their combined leadership changed the landscape for many positions throughout the region and the state, and Pflugerville benefitted by taking advantage of women's talents.”
“It is not all just talent and hard work” : Amy Madison
Madison affirms that her success is not just due to her talents and hard work. She acknowledges the mentors' role in her life and attributes her success to other women in the profession whom she looked to for guidance and in frank conversations about their challenges. Madison also found support from family and friends. Her mother and father strongly influenced her life, and she had a school teacher who remained a mentor until her death. These relationships have helped her to stay positive and motivated.
Amy Madison believes that women bring unique attributes to economic development. Their natural curiosity and empathy for projects allow solutions to emerge. She encourages women to participate in this profession and shares her own experiences to help them overcome the challenges they may face. And women face quite a few, she adds. “I remember being the only woman in the room so often that I didn’t notice it anymore. I decided to focus on the project and just see it to fruition. When women started joining those meetings, I was delighted and supported them, but I believe the outcomes improved because of the diversity.”
That said, Madison values the leadership and problem-solving skills that men contribute and recognizes that many of them sometimes reach out for guidance as they work to take advantage of the skill sets women can provide. She says, “Over the years, I have learned a lot from male professionals in the field. But, as more women joined the ranks, I have had many men reach out for advice on how to incorporate women in leadership best. Together, we are stronger for our organizations and the economic development profession because we have diversity, not just gender. Today, we seek diversity, equity, and inclusion for this great profession, which provides great dividends for our communities.”
TEDC: “A great opportunity for economic developers.”
Amy also speaks of the value of being a Texas Economic Development Council (TEDC) member. Amy has attended the TEDC's annual conference for several years, where she has participated in various sessions and workshops covering a wide range of economic development topics. At the conference, Amy has had the opportunity to network with other economic development professionals, exchange ideas and best practices, learn about the latest trends and innovations in the industry, and apply them to her field of work in PCDC.
Amy Madison's success story is an inspiration to women in the field of economic development. She has overcome the challenges of being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated profession. She has significantly impacted her community by encouraging women to participate in this profession and helping them find solutions to economic development challenges. As Madison says, the future of economic development is bright as more and more women are entering this field and making a difference.