Connie Loden, President/CEO for Heart of Wisconsin Business & Economic Alliance, coordinates community economic development projects in Central Wisconsin, and has become an internationally recognized leader in rural development, currently serving as President of the international Community Development Society. Connie has previously served as President of Wisconsin Rural Partners, the state’s rural development council, on which she continues to serve as board member and representative for Wisconsin in the WK Kellogg Foundation’s Rural People Rural Policy Network initiative. Connie was recently presented with the prestigious Ron Shaffer Award for Collaborative Leadership by the National Rural Development Partnership and Partners for Rural America, recognizing her outstanding contributions and commitment to making a difference for rural communities.
An International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), she also consults as a community economic development specialist, having assisted communities in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Cuba, China, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
The Community Progress Initiative program, developed in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater South Wood County to revitalize their economically struggling community, has received award recognitions on state, national and international levels, including the 2008 Award for Excellence in Economic Development for Multiple Year Projects presented by IEDC, and the Mid-America Economic Development Council’s 2008 Business Retention and Expansion Economic Development Program Award.