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Rachel Ray
Economic Development Director, City of Westerville, Ohio

  • What company do you work for? I am the Economic Development Director for the City of Westerville, Ohio. 
  • Where is your office located? Westerville, Ohio is a community of about 40,000 located on the northeast side of the Columbus, Ohio metro area. Global brands including DHL Supply Chain (North America), Lancaster Colony/T. Marzetti, Cheryl's Cookies, and Vertiv call Westerville home to their corporate HQs.
  • How long have you been a member of the IKO Chapter? I am a proud, brand new member of CoreNet, after attending my first Global Summit this past November in Chicago!
  • What is/was your primary reason for joining CoreNet Global? As Economic Development Director, my goal is to connect with corporate real estate leaders and decision-makers to better understand their site selection and location decision-making processes - especially as it is evolving in the post-COVID-19 "new normal." This information is helpful to ensure that our City's economic development strategy is responsive to the needs of existing businesses, and the types of companies we would like to attract to our community in the years to come. 
  • What is one thing others would find interesting about you (personally or professionally)? Personally, despite my name, I cannot cook - but I do love food and restaurants, and adventurous dining! Professionally, my background is in urban planning, and I spent several years as a planner before making the move to economic development. 
  • If you could do any job in the world, other than what you do now, what would that be (ie. your dream job)? I think I would enjoy being a travel writer and food/restaurant critic. 
  • What are your hobbies? Reading, running, and parenting my 5 year old daughter and 3 year old son. 
  • What words of advice would you give to young professionals entering into the corporate real estate world today? I've heard it said that economic development is like connecting dots that no one else sees. As an economic developer, I'm constantly scanning local, regional, national, and global development and real estate trends, as well as industry trends, economic trends, and many other social and cultural factors to understand, as best as anyone possibly can, where the momentum is. With this information, I can work to position my community for continued investment and reinvestment. This requires cultivating a very broad network of colleagues and contacts, and a keen sense of curiosity and a willingness to ask questions...what makes a decision-maker tick? What keeps them up at night? What's on the horizon that has them excited? Understanding these "dots" and developing the ability to "connect" them in creative ways is what makes economic development, and by extension, corporate real estate, one of the most exciting and impactful careers to be involved in.

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