Sara Lawrence is program director of economic development at RTI International, a global non-profit research institute. She brings 21 years of experience helping people and places develop strategies, analyze data, and assess promising practices for economic development. She effectively interacts across all sectors — business, education, nonprofit, and government — to design and evaluate programs with action-specific solutions unique to the community of focus. She has worked in 25 U.S. states and in 14 countries spanning four continents. Recent work reflects the creation of an Idea Lab for equitable economic development; the development of a Blueprint for a regional innovation corridor in a 100 mile radius of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; and an evaluation of entrepreneurial ecosystem programs in Oregon.
Sara is an Executive in Residence at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and an Associate Fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Project on Prosperity and Development. She was recently recognized by the Triangle Business Journal as women in business award winner for inspiration for the class of 2022.