Thanking a World Class Leader

A nonprofit organization like the Economy League doesn’t stick around for 100-plus years without a compelling mission and dynamic leadership. We have Samuel Fels and other early 20th century civic philanthropists to thank for establishing the former. And over the past two decades, we’ve been fortunate to have Steve Wray provide the latter.


Steve joined the Economy League in 1995 and has spent the past 10 years as its executive director. During those 22 years, Steve has been instrumental in developing groundbreaking initiatives and organizations like IssuesPA, Campus Philly, and Graduate! Philadelphia. He has led dozens of influential research and strategy projects that have driven action around issues of critical importance to our region – from early learning to infrastructure investment to our innovation economy. He has overseen the growth of the Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange into a regional civic institution and launched the World Class Greater Philadelphia agenda – an initiative that has helped to reshape and redefine the work of the Economy League.


Steve is rightly proud of the work that he has done in partnership with regional stakeholders over the past 22 years and is ready for a new challenge. He has announced his intention to resign from his position at the Economy League in spring 2017, and it is a decision that impacts more than just our organization. Steve’s vision and passion for a world class Greater Philadelphia has spurred hundreds of area business, civic, government, and philanthropic leaders to join in our shared work of expanding regional growth and opportunity. Simply put - our region is better because of Steve’s efforts.


For these and so many other reasons, we all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Steve for his leadership and dedication to both the Economy League and our region.


A leadership change of this sort presents both a challenge and an opportunity for any organization. I’m confident that the committed board and exceptional staff that Steve has helped assemble at the Economy League is up to the task of building on his accomplishments and deepening our impact.


Toward this end, Economy League Managing Director for Regional Engagement Josh Sevin has agreed to take on an acting executive director role for the organization starting in March. Josh will be leading an organizational assessment and strategic planning effort to position the Economy League for new permanent leadership and work closely with Steve and the staff to ensure a smooth transition.


On behalf of our board of directors, I sincerely thank Steve for his vision and leadership and, in his remaining months with the organization, look forward to celebrating him and his many successes. 


Read a press release about the Economy League’s upcoming leadership transition here.