All of us at IDA are excited to release the new IDA website and member database. Not only is the member experience greatly improved, but our new system will provide enhanced and direct access to member resources in the Knowledge Center, new illustrative organization profiles, and most importantly, begin to harness the power of data - making IDA the central hub of place management industry intelligence. Visit to get started today. Please note: the old website with domain will be accessible for a short time longer, but information will not be updated.


This report explores the leadership skills required to run a dynamic, successful place management organization. The study is the result of 90-minute interviews with 50 current and former leaders within the downtown and urban district management industry from the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and South Africa. DHR International’s comprehensive, online, self-assessment instrument measures cognitive styles and patterns of motivation for these leaders. The summary findings from the study are now available at no charge to IDA members to serve as a critical guide for career development, hiring processes, and maintaining a competitive advantage.

Download the Report

This valuable report is available at no charge to IDA members, and for only $75 for non-members.

About the Report

The findings of this leadership study echo the findings of IDA’s 2015 Staffing and Salary Survey, which reports that urban district CEOs hold various professional interdisciplinary certifications, ranging from nonprofit management, leadership, real estate, development, urban planning, architecture, public administration, and business.


Urban District CEOs are Creative & Action-Oriented

This study pintpoints urban district CEOs as diverse, adaptive, skilled and savvy leaders in their communities. These CEOs are multi-faceted and adaptive leaders who are proactive, creative and action-oriented. This is fitting, as IDA leaders are the downtown champions and professional placemakers that connect the many stakeholders in a place, bridging the gap between the public and private sectors.

Downtown and urban district CEOs generally fall within the center line on most indicators, indicating an ability to balance between extremes in spite of everyday challenges with balanced and flexible leadership. IDA leaders are able to balance tradition with risk taking, qualitative and analytical thinking, allowing for a steady grasp of the larger picture.


Urban District CEOs are Adaptive "Jacks of all Trades"

When compared with CEOs from other industries, IDA leaders emerge as “jacks of all trades,” balancing between the two extremes in behavioral competencies.

Urban district CEOs score very similarly to CEOs with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), though urban district leaders are more able to focus on implementation over theory. IDA leaders show a stronger commitment to long-term planning, balancing the big picture with the practicality of “getting things done.”

When compared to CEOs in the overall for-profit industry, IDA leaders are much more empathetic and collaborative in their approaches to implementation, while demonstrating considerable endurance.


Receive a Personalized Leadership Assessment

Downtown and urban center leaders need to continually refine their skills to enhance their district’s assets and maintain a competitive advantage. IDA members are eligible for a special discounted rate from HRS to receive a personalized leadership evaluation in comparison with peer leaders in the industry. Contact Cathy Lin, Director of Research, for more information.