The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance announced Kelly O’Brien will be joining the CLT Alliance team as the new chief advocacy and strategy officer.
O’Brien currently serves as the executive director of the Chicago Central Area Committee (CCAC) and the president and CEO for the Alliance for Regional Development (Tri-State Alliance), two sister organizations dedicated to strengthening the economic competitiveness of the Chicagoland Tri-State “mega-region,” consisting of northeast Illinois, southeast Wisconsin and northwest Indiana. Collectively, these organizations dually support the 21-county region that is the third-largest contributor to the national GDP.
“Kelly brings extensive leadership supporting economic development priorities in regional and statewide development plans. Her years of experience in building relationships with local, state and federal officials to promote cooperation and collaboration among local communities and economic districts will help strengthen our region’s competitiveness,” said Janet LaBar, president and CEO of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.
During her eight-year tenure with CCAC and the Tri-State Alliance, O’Brien worked closely with government, academia, and the private sector to develop and implement comprehensive economic development strategies. She worked with the world’s leading think tank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), based in Paris, France, serving as the chief operating officer for the local team, publishing the “OECD Territorial Reviews: The Chicago Tri-State Metropolitan Area,” the first in the United States; built a coalition for a multibillion-dollar proposal to expand transit in Chicago’s Central Area; and served on the Economic Development Committee for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).
In her new role at the CLT Alliance, O’Brien’s experience in advocacy and economic development strategy will be a huge asset to the Charlotte Region.
O’Brien said, “Charlotte has one of the nation’s fastest-growing populations and it is an exciting time to work with the Carolinas’ elected officials and business leaders as plans are designed and executed to respond to the disruptions created by COVID-19, build on sectoral strengths, market the region’s assets to attract businesses, modernize transportation connections and prepare workers for the new economy. This work is going to be part of the Charlotte Region’s history, and I am honored to be part of a team that will help put the strategies in place for seamless growth.”
“Kelly’s years of leadership and experience in strategic legislative advocacy, public policy development, regional economic research, and political communications will be incredibly valuable to the Charlotte Region and the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, as the CLT Alliance seeks to amplify the voice of the region’s businesses and advocate with stakeholders on priorities that elevate the quality of life for all,” said Tracy Montross, regional director of Government Affairs for American Airlines and board member of the CLT Alliance Executive Committee.
O’Brien received a degree in political communications from The George Washington University and her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She is a former elected official in Illinois, serving as Alderman in Palos Hills, and is the recipient of the International St Vincent de Paul Vincentian Charism Award for public service. She has close family in Asheville and had a second home in Hilton Head for many years.