The Prescott Nevada County Economic Development Board, in their annual meeting last month, elected Lauren Brown as their new Board President. Lauren is the first female to hold this position. Brown, who is also Vice President and a Commercial Lending Officer for Farmers Bank & Trust in Prescott, said she is thrilled to start this new chapter. “The Board and Mary (Godwin) have done a really good job,” Brown said. “I just hope I can offer a fresh, new perspective to help them continue the good work they do. I love this community, and I want to help where I can.”
Mary Godwin, Director of Economic Development, said she is looking forward to working with Brown in this role. “I am excited to have someone who will give us a new look at things and maybe see areas we need to focus on more.” Godwin said. Godwin also shared the addition of some new EDO Board Members: Ivory Curry of Curry’s Community Outreach Ministry, Lee Doucet of State Farm, and Roy McCoy from Nevada County School District. “We are a very inclusive, diverse board and we are proud of the fact that we bring a lot of different perspectives to the board,” Godwin said. “We think that is very important to move forward; you need to have a lot of different voices from different areas in the community.”
Brown credits her predecessor, John Brannan, who had been Board President since the EDO began almost twenty years ago, for getting her started with the EDO Board four years ago. “They had some vacancies on the Board so John came to me and talked to me about it,” Brown said. “He asked if I was interested and said he thought I could bring some fresh perspective. I was happy to do it!” Brown says prior to this she had completed the EDO’s Leadership Nevada County program, and that this experience really prepared her for the role. “I met so many people, and I learned so much about the community and how it operates,” Brown said. “It was eye-opening!”
Leadership Nevada County is just one program of this multifaceted organization. EDO’s mission is to create and retain wealth, employment, and opportunities for Prescott and Nevada County. Godwin said the two major factors the EDO examines are community development and business development. In regards to community development, the focus is on leadership development, workforce development, plus social and physical infrastructure. For business, the focus is business recruitment and attraction to create new jobs, as well as heavy involvement in business retention and expansion. Godwin said, “Our number one priority is keeping what we have and helping them grow.” Godwin said the EDO also maintains a heavy focus on tourism development because of Prairie D’Ane and other wonderful assets in Nevada County like White Oak and similar areas.
Brown said she believes her background with her education, her role at the bank, and her time with the leadership program have helped prepare her for this next step. “I think that’s part of why I was excited to become part of the EDO Board,” Brown said. “I felt like I could put all those experiences to good use.” Godwin seconded the notion by saying Brown has a great deal of community development training and experience that will assist her going further, and these roles in a small community are what have made the EDO so successful. “Economic Development is very much about working as partners in a community,” Godwin said. “Over the years, we’ve found in small communities it’s even more important that you’re all on the same page, and you are all working towards one goal.” The Economic Development Office has assisted with $15 million in grants for the city, county, and other organizations in Prescott and Nevada County since it was created.
Brown says she is ready to get started and hopes to be as successful as her predecessor. “I hope, like John, I can bring some longevity to the role,” Brown said.
Mayor Terry Oliver said of Brown, “She is a smart, intelligent young lady, and I am looking forward to working with her.” Oliver said he was in the leadership program with her husband, Ryan, and that Brown comes from a great family dedicated to community service.
Lauren Brown has lived in Prescott about 15 years. She has a Bachelors in Finance and a Bachelors in Accounting from SAU, and she attended the Graduate School of Banking at LSU. She is a CPA and has been with Farmers Bank & Trust for 14 years where she now serves as Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer I. In addition to participating in the Leadership Nevada Program, Brown has served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is a charter member of Junior Auxiliary. She is married to Ryan Brown, and they have three boys: Jace (17), Hooks (11), and Haze (9).