Today, Heartland Forward announced public relations professional Blake Woolsey has joined the "think and do" tank as the organization's new chief communications and development officer. In this role, she will lead Heartland Forward's communications efforts and network management, working closely alongside CEO Ross DeVol.
We are thrilled to officially welcome Blake to the team," said Heartland Forward President and CEO Ross DeVol. "Blake has decades of experience in communications and a true passion for the Heartland. Her new role will help increase awareness of the important work we're doing at Heartland Forward, and her knowledge of our region will be invaluable as we look to share and build upon the research and analysis our team has produced over the last year. Blake is the perfect person to take our efforts to the next level.
As a native of Texas, Woolsey has been consulting for nearly three years helping clients primarily with strategy, communications, and development. Prior, she served as the executive vice president at Fayetteville, Ark.-based public relations agency Mitchell from 2008 to 2018. She served on the executive committee and advised clients in media relations, strategy, and messaging for global brands and nonprofits. Prior to her role with Mitchell, Woolsey was a partner and co-owner of Executive Communications Consultants, LLC, where she offered facilitated strategy sessions, public speaking workshops, media training, and private coaching for executives. She also served as a senior development officer at the University of Arkansas' College of Business, taking the lead on the school's Campaign for the 21st Century and solidifying a $50 million gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, which at the time was the largest ever gift to an American business school.
As a Heartland native myself, the mission to bring about economic renewal in the middle of the country hits home," said Woolsey. "Heartland Forward has worked hard over the past year to produce actionable research and recommendations to advance the Heartland, and nothing makes me prouder than being part of an organization with such dedication to helping these states thrive, especially during this time of economic uncertainty. I look forward to working with the full Heartland Forward team to advance our communications goals and am excited to build upon the tremendous momentum built so far.
Woolsey was honored in 2018 by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce with the Mrs. Sarah Jessie Young Leadership by Example Award. She was also appointed to the Northwest Arkansas National Airport's board of directors in 2015 and has served as its first female chair since 2018.
About Heartland Forward:
Heartland Forward's mission is to improve economic performance in the center of the United States by advocating for fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth, and improved health outcomes. We conduct independent, data-driven research to facilitate action-oriented discussion and impactful policy recommendations.