From Inside Business By Sandra J. Pennecke

Jolie R. Spiers’ career path has taken her to China, Mississippi, and upstate New York, but now she’s back in the region where she grew up.

Following a nationwide search, Spiers was selected as the executive director of the Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center and vice president of small business for the Hampton Roads Chamber.

Jolie R. Spiers, new executive director, Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center and vice president, small business, Hampton Roads Chamber. (Courtesy / HANDOUT)

Handed the torch by Jim Carroll, who retired on June 1 after 25 years in the dual roles, Spiers began her new job on June 6. “To have the opportunity to come back and support the SBDC and Hampton Roads Chamber in creating a robust ecosystem for small-business owners and entrepreneurs, an ecosystem which plays a singular role in our region’s economy and vitality, is tremendous,” Spiers said in a news release.

Throughout her career, Spiers has held many different positions including English teacher and tutor in Beijing and Shenzhen; journalist at the Sun Herald; media relations manager at Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau; director of marketing and communications, and director of resource development at United Way of South Mississippi; beautification director for Harrison County, Mississippi; and senior director alumni relations at the University of Rochester.

Spiers lived in Hampton for seven years during her formative years and relocated in 1995 to attend the University of Mississippi where she earned her bachelor’s degree in print journalism in 1999.

After she earned her Master of Business Administration from the University of Rochester Simon Business School in 2017, Spiers took over as executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Mount Morris, New York. During her two-year tenure with the nonprofit organization, Spiers was responsible for a $1.6 million budget and generated more than $100,000 in new funding.

“Through the work of Jim Carroll and many others, an amazing foundation exists for continued growth and success,” she said. “I can’t wait to get started.”

Sandra J. Pennecke, 757-652-5836,