DIA names Elizabeth Emmanuel as its next CEO

Published: Feb. 18, 2019 at 5:29 PM EST
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By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News

February 25, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — The Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority has named Elizabeth Emmanuel as its next CEO.

Emmanuel will fill the position left vacant by Paige Carter-Smith. Carter-Smith resigned in December after she was indicted on 44 counts by a federal grand jury, including corruption and racketeering.

The DIA board voted unanimously for Emmanuel, who is also a board member. She will have to resign from her seat on the board to serve as CEO.

“I definitely appreciate the trust that the board has put in me in terms of being the right candidate for this position,” said Emmanuel, who was one of 23 people who applied for the job.

In a presentation made to the board during her interview, Emmanuel acknowledged some of the challenges facing downtown, including parking, restaurant sustainability and diversity in downtown businesses. She also said the agency will have to overcome the scrutiny it’s currently under due to its former leader.

"It is its own entity and those issues aren't our issues,” she said. “Moving forward, we just have to make sure that people understand the good work that the Downtown Improvement Authority is doing. And to keep that transparency and accountability moving forward."

Her plans include building a strategic plan for the agency, as well as rethinking its strategies for sponsorship. She hopes to make downtown a place millennials want to stay and live in, while maintaining its attraction for all ages. She said the way to do that is by showcasing the resources available in downtown.

"There's a lot of great opportunity right now. I think Tallahassee as a whole, our best days are ahead of us,” she said. "We've got it. We've got it all going on down here."

Emmanuel will start on March 11.

By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News

February 18, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority is looking to hire a new executive director.

The selection committee is recommending the new CEO be Elizabeth Emmanuel. That will require a vote and approval by the DIA board.

The committee interviewed six candidates on Monday. Former CEO Paige Carter-Smith resigned in December

. Carter-Smith, along with suspended City Commissioner Scott Maddox, is accused of soliciting bribes through their consulting company in exchange for Maddox's vote on the dais.

Candidates include Elizabeth Emmanuel, Elias Mathes, Jackie Bigony, Drew McLeod, Brad Johnson and Lisa Bright.

The committee unanimously agreed to recommend Emmanuel, who is currently the program coordinator of Leadership Tallahassee. She is also a current board member on the Downtown Improvement Authority and will need to resign if she approved for the post.

"I want this job for a number of reasons. I want to affect change, I want to improve downtown Tallahassee," said Emmanuel during her interview.

Emmanuel put forth a plan to grow local buy in and increase collaboration with city and county partners. She said she wants to make downtown a place millennials want to be, while building a city everyone wants to be in.

DIA Chair Chris Dudley said the organization is looking for someone to bring a fresh start to the DIA. He admitted the last year was tough sponsorship wise, as the rumors surrounding Carter-Smith may have made some businesses wary of offering money.

"Getting a new person in there, quickly who can get down in front

of them, who can really lay out a mission. We've got an amazing board. They're really involved. They don't miss meetings, they're

really active. They want to contribute and participate. We just need a leader to follow," he said.

23 candidates applied for the job, which was narrowed down to six candidates. The advertised salary is between $55,000 and $85,000. The selection committee is recommending the salary start at $60,000.

The DIA board will meet on Monday at noon to officially vote on the matter.

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