A graduate from the University of South Carolina’s Journalism and Mass Communication School, Laura stumbled into entrepreneurship and economic development. After starting her career with Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union, Laura joined the leadership team at the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator as their Director of Communications and Programs Manager.
The Incubator is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Midlands startup community. Laura connected entrepreneurs with statewide resources, developed unique programs, and maintained critical relationships with media and community leadership. During her tenure, the Incubator experienced growth in technology startups with 45 tenant companies reflecting approximately $30M in annual revenue and over 200 employees paying an average salary of $65,000. This success gained the attention from media across the nation, including Inc. Magazine recognizing the Incubator as one of the top 3 university tied programs ‘to watch.’
As momentum continued, Laura transitioned to USC’s newly formed Office of Economic Engagement (OEE) as Director of Communications. OEE connects enterprise to the resources of the university to create jobs, accelerate innovation and drive economic prosperity. Specifically, Laura instigated strategies to highlight USC assets and infrastructure to private industry, resulting in partnerships with IBM, Boeing, and Fluor Corporation.
With the itch to learn among her peers, Laura became a ‘weaver’ at Cyberwoven and managed a portfolio of clients, aiding in brand positioning, project management, and overall communications. The South Carolina Department of Commerce would soon become the new professional home for Laura and officially joined Team South Carolina in April of 2017 as Managing Director for the Office of Innovation. In this role, Laura is an advocate for innovation, exploring the best strategies to enable the relentless pursuit of transformational ideas for South Carolina’s citizens.