Jennifer Wakefield, APR, is the President and Chief Executive Officer for the Greater Richmond Partnership. In her role, she is responsible for collaborating with local and state economic development executives to set and drive the organizational vision.
She was recruited to Richmond to work for GRP in September 2017 as the Senior Vice President of Marketing by the organization’s former President and CEO where she managed marketing and communications activities, budget and team members as well as ensured brand compliance and provided market analysis. When the former President and CEO left, the GRP Board asked her to serve as Interim President and CEO from January until August 2019 where she managed the day-to-day operations of the organization overall, conducted a thorough SWOT analysis of the organization and developed a plan to optimize financial performance and strategy until a permanent CEO was named. Jennifer was later promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2019.
Prior to joining GRP, Jennifer served as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Orlando Economic Development Commission (now the Orlando Economic Partnership) for 11 years where she launched a branding campaign bringing international attention to the region, increasing leads by 50 percent, increasing consideration of Orlando as a business location among c-suite executives from 19 percent to 63 percent and bringing the organization to its highest funding in history. She worked on numerous transformational projects in the region including the Amway Center, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Citrus Bowl, Lake Nona Medical City, SunRail, BRIDG / NeoCity and the merger of the Orlando Economic Development Commission and the Central Florida Partnership.
In her 20+ year career, she has garnered extensive experience in strategic planning, marketing and communications, operations and management and is a recognized thought leader in developing marketing strategies for economic development. In addition to her experience in economic development, she has experience in the transportation, utility and financial services industries.
Jennifer has a master’s degree in communications from the University of Central Florida and a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising from the University of West Florida. She holds the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) designation, signifying a high level of professional experience, competence and ethical standards. She is a former adjunct communications professor at the University of Central Florida.
Jennifer is a member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) where she regularly serves as an instructor on marketing webinars and as a speaker at conferences. She is a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). She has been named among Top 50 Economic Developers by Consultant Connect, Top 40 Under 40 Economic Development Professionals by Development Counsellors International and International Economic Development Council and Top 40 Under 40 professionals in Orlando by the Orlando Business Journal. She has won numerous local, regional, national and international awards for her work. She is a 2005 graduate of Leadership Orlando and a 2018 graduate of Lead Virginia.
Jennifer is a self-professed Star Wars nerd who can be found exploring the Richmond Region with her husband, son and miniature poodle.