After serving as a Dogwood Health Trust board member, Sarah Thompson joined the Impact Team as Vice President – Economic Opportunity. In this role, Sarah is responsible for the visioning, development and implementation of ambitious economic impact strategies that will increase pathways to high-quality and more equitable employment opportunities for Western North Carolinians. She also leads efforts to increase support for micro and small business opportunities for under-resourced and marginalized communities.
Sarah previously served as the Executive Director for Southwestern Planning and Economic Development Commission in Sylva. In this role, she directed operations of the regional council of government which serves the seven most western counties in North Carolina through community and economic development, workforce development, area agency on aging and a revolving loan fund for businesses.
Before her role with Southwestern Commission, Sarah was the executive director of the Downtown Sylva Association. She has also served as Chair of the NC Rural Economic Development Center Board and founding Chair of Thread Capital, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) providing capital and coaching to small businesses owned by people of color, women, low-income and rural based individuals. Additionally she has served as Chair of the Jackson County Planning Board and as a Town of Sylva Commissioner. She holds a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Western Carolina University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Miami University.