Strength in Diversity and the Importance of ‘Showing, Not Telling’

Spotlight on Nadia Khan, Business Development Specialist, MCEDC

 

As part of our continuing commitment to bring a ‘New Day in Economic Development,’ we are excited to welcome two new members to our savvy New Business team -- Nadia Khan and Robel Worku. We spoke to them to gain insights into their backgrounds, areas of interest, passion for MCEDC and the work we do, and some key areas of focus moving forward. We’ll be sharing their thoughts in two separate installments, starting with Nadia Khan.

Nadia, tell us a little more about yourself. What attracted you  to MCEDC and your new position?

While in previous positions working as an attorney, economic development and international relations were always in my mind as areas of passion and interest. I had professors in law school who focused on international economic development, and I always thought that economic development was an area that I would love to explore. Specially, I am interested in the role governments play in fostering smart economic growth through business-friendly policies and initiatives. In my prior legal work, I represented business clients directly, ranging from banks to mortgage brokers and insurance companies, and working with businesses in a broader way seemed to be a logical next step. I’m thrilled to be a part of the MCEDC team, particularly because I see the organization as uniquely positioned to leverage the vision of the public sector, in terms of fostering job growth and capital investment, and the talent and depth of the private sector. The organization is at a very interesting, critical phase of growth and revitalization, in terms of building an economic development strategy for the County from the ground up. It’s very exciting to be part of the fresh, creative approach we’re taking right now.

What do you most look forward to achieving in the short and long-terms?

I have a real passion for the biotechnology industry, especially as it is such a fast-growing, dynamic area with many ground-breaking discoveries happening right here in our own backyard. In the long term, I’d love the opportunity to strengthen and continue to grow our biotech cluster here in the County. In the short-term, I am working to help local biotech companies connect with one another one on issues of common interest. For example, I am planning an event to host all the MoCo biotech companies that will attend the national BIO conference in San Diego later this summer. The goal is to provide a space for these companies to meet one another and share ideas prior to attending the conference, so that they can make the most of networking opportunities at the conference collectively as a team. This is just one way that MCEDC can step in as a ready resource to our business community and help them be more effective in their work. We love helping businesses network and get things done!

What specific ideas do you have for engaging  young entrepreneurs and draw them to the County? How are you uniquely able to do this as a ‘Millennial’ yourself? 

In my opinion, we can engage with young entrepreneurs and draw them to the county by  “showing, not telling.” To that end, we have some exciting social media campaigns brewing that will highlight the incredible entrepreneurship that is already underway here in MoCo.  We can’t say too much right now, but you will be blown away to know what innovative thinkers are already doing here in the county! We also hope to utilize social media to emphasize the culture, arts, and lifestyle unique to MoCo, which will certainly appeal to the younger generation. It is our hope that by highlighting these features, more young entrepreneurs will think of Montgomery County as a landing place for their business.     

What is most special or unique about what MCEDC does for local businesses and the community as a whole?

Without question, I would say it is the depth of MCEDC’s partnerships and long-standing ties across the local business and government communities. By working with our partners, we have access to more resources and expertise than any one organization could possibly have on its own. We are regularly meeting with businesses and learning about the challenges they face doing business here in the county. It is huge for us to have that strong network of partners in our arsenal as we help businesses brainstorm and problem solve! Also, by engaging directly with businesses one-on-one, we are in a unique position to understand the real issues that the business community is facing. As a result, we are able to bring a unique voice as we gain fresh, valuable information direct from the sources in our community – and this is a powerful engine to propel economic growth.

Do you have any other observations or fun tidbits to add here?

One thing I think is interesting for people to know is that both Robel and I speak other languages, making it a total of 7 languages spoken between just within our in-house team alone. We wanted to make sure that our team here at MCEDC reflects the diverse base of the County, since it is one of things that makes this area a premier location to live and do business. I look forward to continuing to leverage our diversity as a strength in promoting minority outreach and engagement both within the county and state, as well as internationally to raise MCEDC’s profile and position us as a thought leader and connector.