The Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) announced on Jan. 7 that its Board of Directors has named Jennifer Baker as president of the organization. In this role, Baker will be responsible for the development and execution of CREDC’s strategic direction, including overseeing administration, staff, funding, budget, and programs and initiatives, in addition to managing business support and recruitment activities.
With a robust background leading economic development initiatives both in the U.S. and abroad, Baker joins CREDC most recently from the U.S. Small Business Administration, where she served as deputy director for Oregon and Southwest Washington. Previously, Baker held consultancy roles in Ethiopia and Vanuatu, where she helped lay the groundwork for economic policymaking and trade negotiations. She also spent four years with the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington D.C. where her accomplishments included leading the Commerce delegation’s involvement in U.S.-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
“We are thrilled to have someone of Jennifer’s caliber lead the organization,” said Casey Wyckoff, board chair of CREDC. “Jennifer brings a wealth of experience that will propel the team to new heights. I am confident Jennifer’s leadership will continue the strong momentum toward accomplishing the goals of our Economic Development Plan as we embark on year two of execution.”
Baker has been recognized for her outstanding performance with the Small Business
Administration, where she also served as an advisory board member for the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs and the Women’s Business Center at Mercy Corps Northwest. In 2017, she was peer-nominated to chair the Oregon Federal Executive Board of Directors and honored by the Office of Personnel Management for excellence in leadership. Baker holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Modern Languages from Pacific University and a Master of Arts in International Policy Studies from Monterey Institute of International Studies.
“I am thrilled that I was selected to lead the CREDC team,” Baker said. “I’m eager to engage with the staff and board members as we position our communities to manage current economic opportunities and future challenges optimally. A considerable amount of effort went into creating the Clark County Comprehensive Economic Development Plan, and there will be much work to do as we continue building out this vision into actionable channels. I pledge to represent CREDC with the high-level of professionalism and polish for which it is reputed, and I look forward to facilitating the strong collaboration and partnerships that help make Clark County an unparalleled place to live, work and play.”
Baker succeeds Max Ault, who has served as interim president since May 2018. She will begin her duties as President of CREDC on Jan. 14, reporting directly to the organization’s Board of Directors.