Recent promotions and strategic realignments in leadership at the Greater Des Moines Partnership are not only part of a succession plan ahead of President Gene Meyer’s retirement, but are also meant to help the Partnership build on its reputation of being a best-of-class economic development organization, Partnership leaders said today.

The Partnership announced last week that Meyer will retire in January 2021, and that CEO Jay Byers, top photo, will take on the consolidated role of CEO and president. It also announced Tiffany Tauscheck, bottom photo, current chief strategy officer, will be promoted to Chief Operations Officer. Courtney Shaw, the current vice president of communications, will move to a senior vice president of communications role, and that effective immediately, Sanjita Pradhan, the current program director of talent development, will serve as diversity and inclusion director.

“We’re very excited in terms of how we positioned the Partnership in the future with some really great talent, but it’s also a great opportunity to celebrate all the great things Gene has done for the region and for our organizations,” said Byers, who became CEO in 2012, the same year Meyer was named president.

Byers said for him, the big changes come with the promotions, including Tauscheck’s move to COO, overseeing all the downtown work that Meyer had been handling, and increased leadership with Capital Crossroads, among other duties.

Tauscheck said she’s excited to take on her new role, given her background in communications and with other organizations such as Catch Des Moines and as a founding member of the Downtown Chamber of Commerce.

“I’ve had a passion for downtown for many years,” Tauscheck said. “I have always loved downtown and the vibrancy and the opportunities that we have.”

Tauscheck said she’s fortunate to have worked under Meyer and Byers, and looks forward to building on the work they’ve done.

“They have set such a strong, solid foundation for downtown, and as we think about the future and what we need to navigate in the short-term and long-term, I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with the team and Gene to help set up that really strong foundation for the future.”

Byers said the goal of the Partnership will remain the same after the changes happen and as the organization implements its 18-month strategic plan.

“In many ways we want this to be as seamless as possible,” he said. “I think the Greater Des Moines Partnership has a strong record of driving results for economic growth and you’ll continue to see that moving forward, and you'll continue to see a focus on the future.”

Tauscheck said there are opportunities in the strategic plan to do “some really big things as a region."

“We know people are really hungry for that bright future and message of hope and resilience, and we know we have those opportunities as a region,” she said. “Even when there are challenging times, we know we’re going to come together as a region and push forward, and none of that is changing.”

Byers said the Partnership team members did a good job in succession planning ahead of Meyer’s retirement and preparing for the future, and were fortunate to have the talent internally to move forward.

“You’re always looking at how to strategically position yourself for the future,” he said. “You’re always wanting to make sure your team members have these training and learning opportunities so they can continue to move up in the organization, and with this series of promotions and announcements, we were able to do that internally.”

Byers said the moves “make perfect sense for what we need to do to move our organization and the region forward."

“Our goal is always to be best-in-class economic and community development organization, and do everything we can to make [Des Moines] a best-in-class region,” he said. “We think these moves … will position the Partnership very strongly in the future.”