Chisago County Affirms New Strategic Plan Facilitated by Northspan

Chisago County’s HRA-EDA can claim many successes in recent years. It connects dozens of businesses with resources each year and successfully manages several housing properties. Executive Director Nancy Hoffman has built a reputation as a statewide leader in broadband development, and several rural townships have received grants to expand service in recent years. It has been involved in several creative programs to expand tourism and works with regional partners to market East Central Minnesota for regional growth.

What was missing, however, was a long-term strategic plan that moved beyond the successes of each annual work plan. As a result, the HRA-EDA hired Northspan to guide its staff, board, and community stakeholders through a strategic planning process. Northspan President & CEO Elissa Hansen facilitated the project with assistance from Research Director & Consultant Karl Schuettler.

The process began with a survey and a virtual visioning session that brought together stakeholders from communities across the county. Northspan gave an overview of county demographic, economic, and housing trends and guided the attendees toward a practical vision for the HRA-EDA. In two later sessions with the HRA-EDA, Northspan facilitated consensus workshops that identified the blocks that prevented the organization from reaching its vision, established strategic directions, and created a new mission for an organization. The HRA-EDA approved the new plan at its September 29 board meeting.

“Our new strategic plan is exactly what we need to guide the HRA-EDA going forward,” said Hoffman, a longtime Northspan partner through their respective roles with the GPS 45:93 regional economic development partnership in East Central Minnesota. “We’re eager to put this to work for the county and it’s clear how we can take the longer-term plan and make it into shorter-term work plans that get us the results we want.”

Reach out to Elissa Hansen at to learn more about Northspan’s strategic planning and facilitation services!