Community and economic development involves many diverse subjects – communication, marketing, business, politics, public relations, to name a few. This doesn’t mean that progress is impossible without all of these skill sets; it just means that more knowledge and experience in them can help facilitate success. That’s why ProsperousPlaces teams up with individuals and organizations who are recognized experts in subjects critical to community and economic development. We tackle each project with a custom team that has the right mix of knowledge and experience most relevant to a community’s specific situation. While all our Affiliates have experience in community and economic development, they have particular expertise in the areas listed below. We are proud of our Affiliates and encourage you to benefit from their knowledge.

Rhonda Phillips

Rhonda Phillips

Areas of Expertise: Qualify of Life, Economic and Social Indicators, Measuring Community Progress and Success

Rhonda is a university administrator and internationally recognized community and economic development expert with significant private sector and governmental project experience. She has served in progressively higher levels of leadership positions at Purdue University, Arizona State University, and the University of Florida. She has advised communities in numerous states and in other countries including Korea, Canada, Ireland, and Panama.

She has worked as a full-time economic development professional with the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and other nonprofit and public organizations to enhance community outcomes. Rhonda’s projects and research focus on helping communities achieve desirable goals via community and economic development planning, emphasizing community well-being and quality-of-life studies. She is author or editor of 27 books, including the Handbook of Community Well-Being and Introduction to Community Development, and is editor of two community development journals.

Joe Tankersley - Community Visioning

Joe Tankersley

Areas of Expertise: Community Visioning, Strategic Planning

Joe Tankersley is a writer, futurist, and former Walt Disney Imagineer. He combines his broad experience as a storyteller with a deep knowledge of strategic foresight to help organizations create compelling visions for better tomorrows.

Joe was a writer/producer for Walt Disney Imagineering for 20 years. While there, he led creative teams on projects for Epcot, Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the Disneyland Resort in California.

Melissa Wade

Melissa Wade

Areas of Expertise: Communications, Building Consensus and Teams

Melissa Maxcy Wade is President of the Glenn Pelham Foundation for Debate Education, a non-profit entity founded to support the work of debate education in urban and international schools. She recently retired as Executive Director of Forensics at Emory University, and she was a founder and Executive Director of the Atlanta Urban Debate League. She has served on the board of directors of numerous national and international organizations devoted to debate and communications education including the National Debate Tournament and the International Debate Education Association. Ms. Wade is a political debate commentator for local, state, and national elections for various national media including the National Associated Press Presidential Debate Evaluation Panel.

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