Following a nationwide search, Greater Winston-Salem, Inc. is pleased to announce Laura Johnson Lee as the organization’s Senior Vice President of Economic Development. Laura will lead a division whose charge is to recruit new business and industry, develop new businesses, and support existing businesses with retention and expansion needs. Laura will serve as a member of the organization’s senior management team and will be an integral part of the growth of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.
Laura was selected from a pool of candidates nationwide following a talent search led by Jorgenson Consulting, a leading executive search firm that specializes in the economic and community development and nonprofit industries.
Laura comes to Winston-Salem from Raleigh where she served as Business Recruitment Manager for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. In this role, she was responsible for attracting new business into North Carolina markets, including the Triad. As EDPNC’s only industry-specific recruiter, Laura’s projects focused on food and beverage processing and value-added agriculture, supporting the state’s top industry, agriculture. At EDPNC, Laura was successful in attracting over 2,400 jobs and $365M in capital investment.
Laura has also held economic development positions in Asheville and Savannah, GA. A native North Carolinian, Laura grew up in Wilson and attended Wake Forest University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in Communications and Entrepreneurship and a Masters of Science in Management.
“Laura was a standout candidate not only for her keen understanding of innovative economic recruitment strategies and North Carolina’s regional assets, but also for her genuine appreciation for Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. As a former resident, Laura makes it clear that she is ready to advocate for a community she believes in,” says Mark Owens, President and CEO.
One of the aspects that draws Laura to Winston-Salem is the community’s strong sense of collaboration. “I am eager to partner closely with our business community and City and County partners to match their goals for Winston-Salem—being inclusive in economic development is the only successful way to move a community forward,” says Lee.
In industries and communities everywhere, it is clear that economic developers will need to employ new strategies in a world that’s changed with COVID 19, and Winston-Salem is no exception. In her new role, Laura sees opportunity amid disruption, saying “COVID-19 has cast a new light on our business community and challenged a traditional approach to economic development. We are faced with an unprecedented opportunity to capitalize on our strengths and pivot to new platforms to showcase our county to lead us into a strong economic recovery.”
Laura will begin her new role with Greater Winston-Salem, Inc in mid-July.