Development Counsellors International recently honored Liz Hayden, 29, Business Development Specialist for the City of Hamilton, as a winner of its 40 Under 40 awards — the only award of its kind recognizing young talent in the economic development profession.
Since starting in 2012, Liz has worked aggressively to attract businesses and improve the image of Hamilton through public relations. She has also played a vital role in building relationships within the City of Hamilton. Because of her ability to collaborate with many different people, she chairs two of the City’s cross-departmental strategic goal teams and is involved in five other strategic goals teams. Her collaboration has significantly increased buy-in for economic development efforts from other departments.
In 2012, Liz developed the City of Hamilton’s Initiative Update brochure, a document that highlights all of the City’s major projects. This brochure won the 2013 Excellence in Economic Development Marketing Award from the Ohio Economic Development Association (OEDA) and won the 2013 Silver International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) Special Purpose Brochure Award. It has been distributed to more than 9,000 people.
In 2014, Liz developed the Economic Development Department’s first Annual Report, an important marketing piece that combines the entire 2013 year into one story, showing how much Hamilton’s economy is growing. The 2013 Annual Report publication has been distributed to more than 3,500 people and won IEDC’s Gold 2014 Annual Report Award.
Economic development is not just a job for Liz; it’s a passion. Liz’s public relations efforts, dedication to urban core revitalization, and cross-departmental efforts to improve infrastructure and streamline business development aim to revitalize the Rust Belt and have significantly benefited Hamilton’s economy. In October 2014, she was recognized by the Ohio Economic Development Association as Rookie of the Year, an award that recognizes one who has met the challenges of providing economic development early on and who demonstrates the dedication to positively impacting the state’s economic growth.
What’s your passion for places?
Growing up in the city of St. Louis instilled in me a love for walkable urban communities. After living in Cincinnati for a few years, I developed an interest in preserving cities like Cincinnati and St. Louis and a desire to be part of their revitalization. I think Rust Belt cities have so much potential for rebirth and I am thrilled to be involved in these efforts through my position in the city of Hamilton, Ohio.
What have you learned so far in your career?
I have a lot more to learn! However, I have also learned that my inexperience can sometimes be beneficial to our economic development efforts. Without years of experience that can sometimes color the perception of a new project, my perspective can provide an opportunity to think outside the box and take risks. Therefore, I try not to be intimidated and make sure to ask questions, offer my opinion, and volunteer for all kinds of projects.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I love my job and I have more to learn here from the amazing people I work with, so I could definitely see myself as part of the economic development team here in five years. There is currently great energy in Hamilton and I’m so excited to see what we can build here.