Economic Development Director
City of Idaho Falls
Dana Briggs never planned to be the economic development director of Idaho Falls because she never expected to be in government, and the position was new when she was hired for it.
While working toward her master’s degree in business, Briggs connected with the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce through an internship. She was hired by the chamber of commerce after graduation; there she connected with business stakeholders — from elected officials to corporate representatives.
Eastern Idaho was looking for regional economic development leadership, Briggs described, and Idaho Falls mayor Rebecca Casper wanted someone to represent Idaho Falls and Bonneville County.
Briggs, 29, has been in the position for almost five years.
“I think as a society in general, it’s really easy to kind of discredit or not provide the same opportunities to someone who’s younger in their career,” said Michelle Holt, former CEO of the chamber of commerce. “There’s some assumptions made about their capability or their situational maturity because of their age.”
Briggs faced this possibility as an adjunct professor at BYU-Idaho, while working for Idaho Falls. Despite excitement about the job — teaching an evening class on program management — Briggs was nervous that students would not take her seriously. The experience was the opposite, Briggs said, and she loved it.
“She had this incredible, full job and still invested time in furthering her career and then helping to further the education of others,” said Holt. “There were very few people in her life that really knew that she was doing that. She just kind of quietly goes about (doing) the things that are important to her.”
Briggs credits much of her growth to female leaders and her mentors, including Holt, the mayor of Idaho Falls, professors, her mother and grandmother. Briggs helped establish Costco, the Idaho Falls Community Hospital and Mountain America Event Center, to name a few projects. She participates on ve local boards, such as the Downtown Development Corporation and Idaho Innovation Center. Her knowledge of city processes and growth is helpful to them, and they inform her of possible future job tasks.
“I just think it’s so important to have the appropriate perspective in all that we do related to ourselves, and our own pride,” Briggs said. “It’s important for me to be self-aware … and be pretty mindful of who I spend time around. The people you spend time around help form who you are as a person.”
Briggs is continuing her personal development as well. A dedicated reader, Briggs is particularly inspired by author Malcom Gladwell.
“I genuinely think … always learning and reading adds depth to your life,” Briggs said. “That leads into the workforce and how we can all become better coworkers and managers and leaders.”
“I feel we all need to be more con dent in who we are without having that outside assurance,” Briggs added. “Having (that) is fine and good if it comes, but we can’t be held up if we don’t have it.”