CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The new president and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance says she’s been speaking with dozens of people in the community as part of her own listening tour.
Nichole Christian joined the alliance last month. She’s a 26-year veteran Certified Chamber Executive and is a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management.
Christian said during a Monday appearance on “580 Live” heard on MetroNews affiliate 580-WCHS in Charleston there’s a lot of concern about West Virginia’s population loss, according to 2020 U.S. Census numbers released last week.
“Everybody has really been so thoughtful in the information that they’ve share. They want to be involved in helping to come up with solutions and helping to make changes,” Christian said.
Christian is originally from northern Kentucky, but moved to Charleston from western Maryland. She said the Kanawha Valley has a lot to offer when it comes to new businesses coming to town, not just in Charleston.
“If a business is considering moving here or expanding, they’re not looking at jurisdictional lines. They may be for tax incentives, but that’s usually state by state. We have to work together,” she said.
The alliance’s Charleston Roots Program has also drawn in a number of applicants who are moving to West Virginia from out of state. The incentive program offers $5,000 to each person.
Christian said her goal is to continue to build on that program to spur economic growth.
“People aren’t uprooting their lives and making a huge life-changing move just for $5,000 dollars,” she said. “They’re doing it because they’re looking for something different. I think they know and understand Charleston can offer that.”
Maryland Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives in 2017 named Christian the Chamber Executive of the Year .
The Charleston Area Alliance works to attract and retain innovative industries and workforce, revitalize urban spaces and improve the Kanawha Valley.