I recently accepted the position as Director of the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation and moved from Richmond, Virginia to the Richmond Highway Corridor. I have spent the better part of the last decade working in economic and community development facilitating the revitalization of the historic downtown district of Hopewell, Virginia. In this role, I was involved with everything from planning large festivals and events, to acquiring gap financing for difficult real estate redevelopment projects. I am excited to take on a new challenge in a new environment realizing that many of my skills will transfer to this new role, while others will need to be learned.
What inspires and drives me in the community development arena is the ability to have a positive impact on people’s lives. At the end of the day, community/economic development for me can be summed up in three words: quality of life. It is about improving people’s lives in the communities they call home. Whether this is through new events that bring the community together in a social atmosphere or recruiting new businesses that provide jobs, dining experiences, or unique shopping opportunities. A great community should have access to a variety of amenities including recreation, entertainment, employment, retail, and arts and culture.
Since taking this position, I have met with many community leaders who are working hard to create that type of environment. I am encouraged by the passion and optimism I’ve witnessed from these leaders and feel fortunate to work alongside them, planning and implementing many great projects that will improve the overall quality of life along the Richmond Hwy corridor.
I look forward to partnering and working collaboratively with many organizations and individuals in order to produce the greatest impact possible. Obviously, with the Embark plan, there is major change not far away. It is important that before, during, and after those changes, this community is working steadfastly to address existing issues and making the changes required to have a successful and ongoing revitalization effort that is inclusive of the diverse population that currently resides here.
My first order of business with the SFDC is to set a new strategic plan based on past and current research, as well as spending as much time as possible with different community groups and residents. I wholeheartedly believe that true revitalization must be a ground-up approach, enabling the community to be a part of the process.
As I get to know this area and the neighborhoods, feel free to reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns that you may have. I pride myself on being able to communicate openly and honestly on all issues.
Lastly, being new to this area, I’m also looking for new activities and ways to meet more people. Please keep me in mind for the next community potluck or cultural event. I’ll make sure to bring a good dish.
P.S. We will be using a lot of social media to reach a wider audience so make sure to ‘like’ and follow our Facebook page so you can interact with us on an ongoing basis. https://www.facebook.com/SoutheastFairfaxDevelopmentCorporation/