#GTK Emerging Leader: Desirae Phrasavath

Oct 30, 2023 | Emerging Leaders Profiles

3 Fun Facts

    1. I’m an Upstate New York native, and I’ve also lived in South Dakota. I love going back and visiting both states.
    2. I have a goal to visit all U.S. National Parks, and I am about halfway to my goal!
    3. I love reading, and my favorite author is Riley Sager, whom I recently met at his book signing in Scottsdale.

What’s a recent economic development/career win you experienced?

This is technically an upcoming win, but next month, I will have completed all the coursework required for the AZED Pro certification, and I am excited to be certified!

What’s something you wish you knew prior to starting your current role?

I am very results-driven, so I wish I had known that economic development is playing a strategy game. Learning more about my city’s existing businesses and connecting them with resources to thrive gives me a sense of fulfillment. Our team does occasional volunteer work as well, and we recently participated in a back-to-school drive to help kids secure school supplies. I have so much fun networking and helping my team host businesses and site selectors at events like the WM Phoenix Open, Spring Training, and more. Working in economic development has allowed me to find my passions, make a positive impact, and create a brighter future.

Who do you look up to in the field and what advice might you give to emerging leaders about mentorship?

I look up to many people in the field, but the person I can rely on the most for general knowledge, career advice, and witty banter is my department’s Acting Director, Scott Cooper. Scott, as well as my other coworkers, have helped me adjust to the economic development field, included me in important conversations, made me feel like a valued member of my team, and encouraged me to be active in organizations like AAED to continue my professional growth. I highly recommend any young professional in a long-term endeavor. Real change takes time, and the impacts of our efforts are not immediately visible, so having patience (and perseverance) in this field is important. You have to set realistic expectations and understand results may take years to materialize.

What would you tell your younger self about economic development?

It’s more than an office job; it’s enjoyable work. AED’s mentor/mentee program provides a great opportunity for finding a mentor! I had a great experience with my mentor, and now I have several people I can contact with any questions or general career advice.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming economic developers?

Education is your greatest asset! Acquiring knowledge and skills will open many doors for you and empower you to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing economy. Don’t be afraid to pivot when necessary. Networking is also key because you will find yourself constantly collaborating with stakeholders. Building strong partnerships and working together towards a common goal can accelerate progress significantly. Lastly, be adaptable because you must be open to new ideas and approaches. Economic Development strategies are always changing in this rapidly evolving world.