Lowcountry Local First (LLF) will launch a nationwide search for a new Executive Director, as founding Executive Director Jamee Haley has announced her departure from the nonprofit organization. Lauren Gellatly, LLF’s Director of Operations, will serve as the Interim Director until a candidate is selected.
“There was no better person to launch, sustain and grow Lowcountry Local First from an idea to a thriving movement, way of life, and changemaker organization,” said Gellatly. “Jamee’s leadership made Lowcountry Local First what it is today and laid the groundwork for all of us to take it to the next phase.”
Haley’s last day as Executive Director is slated for December 31. At that time, she will move into a consultant role to support fundraising efforts, onboard the new director, and help make the transition as seamless as possible for LLF.
LLF was founded nearly 15 years ago under the direction of Haley and she has led the organization through tremendous growth during her tenure. The nonprofit created a movement around buying local, changed consumer purchasing practices, and provided public education on the economic development benefits of supporting community businesses. Haley and the LLF team have helped strengthen small businesses, increase the number of farmers in the region, and prioritize minority-owned businesses.
“I believe that Lowcountry Local First is at a pivotal juncture in the growth of the organization and the development of the vision moving forward,” said Haley. “I am excited to see what fresh eyes and a new perspective can bring to the mission, particularly during a time of heightened understanding of the value that local businesses bring to our community and the need to create an inclusive economy. We have a supportive board of directors and an amazing team of professionals who are committed to serving the local businesses that are the soul of our community.”
LLF will continue to be a think tank for the best ideas and practices for growing and sustaining a thriving local economy. As the area’s primary resource for local businesses, LLF is focused on economic development and increasing advocacy and policy work. A key part of the organization’s mission has always been to help businesses achieve profitability, maintain a strong set of values, and fulfill a bigger purpose beyond the bottom line. Its current initiatives, including Good Enterprises, Good Business Summit, Local Works and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will remain a top focus for the organization.
COVID-19 has shown the immeasurable value of LLF in the community. LLF’s work to build the relationship economy has enabled them to navigate the pandemic for their membership base. Since March, the nonprofit has helped hundreds of local businesses in accessing federal funding, created workshops and robust resources to share support, and advocated in Washington D.C. on behalf of small businesses.
“We will miss Jamee at the helm of Lowcountry Local First. It is through her leadership, passion, vision, and just plain hard work that LLF has become the voice for, and advocate of, local businesses,” said Nicki Root, LLF Board Chair. “Jamee has been the heart and soul of LLF, but her legacy is that she has created an organization that will continue to thrive with that heart and soul as the bedrock of its core values; with a talented and dedicated staff who have the same fierce commitment to building a strong local economy. I am really looking forward to LLF’s next chapter that in part will be dedicated to racial equity and inclusion as an organization.”
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