Eleena Marley named permanent CEO of Vancouver’s economic development agency

The executive had been serving as interim CEO since February.

The City of Vancouver has named one of its own to lead its dedicated economic development agency.

Eleena Marley has been appointed permanent CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC), a role she has held in an interim capacity since February. At VEC, she’ll continue to lead the overall team and set the organization’s corporate and strategic goals.

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It’s a pivotal time for VEC as it works to stimulate the economy of BC’s largest city as governments at all levels attempt to put the COVID-19 pandemic in the rearview mirror. “The ongoing economic impacts of COVID and the climate emergency – unfolding in lockstep with other crises – clearly illustrate the significance of VEC’s work on economic transformation,” Marley shared in a post on VEC’s website.

“I have every confidence in VEC’s track record and commitment to tackling the issues of the future,” she added. “The team’s expertise will aid Vancouver in our city’s challenging yet rewarding quest for an economically resilient, prosperous and inclusive economy, and one competitively positioned on the world stage.”

VEC is an external agency of the City of Vancouver governed by the Societies Act with a stated mandate to build a prosperous, inclusive, zero carbon and resilient local economy, competitively positioned in the global market.

In addition to its focus on COVID-19 support programs for businesses, over the past year, VEC has launched multiple programs and strategies related to gaming, economic transformation and clean tech.

The organization launched an esports strategy in February. Shortly after, it partnered with Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business (SFU Beedie) to launch the Economic Transformation Lab (ETL), a platform for collaboration between industry and academia. It’s meant to develop actionable goals, programs or insights that shape policy advocacy and will help future-proof Vancouver against these trends.

Following that, VEC debuted Project Greenlight, a regional demonstration platform that facilitates connections between public and private enterprises (members) and the local and global innovation community.

Marley and her new team will build on those programs in conjunction with City of Vancouver staff, according to Paul Mochrie, Vancouver city manager and chair of the Vancouver Economic Commission’s board of directors. “VEC plays a critical role in championing the development of a strong, equitable and resilient local economy and Eleena is well placed to lead that work in partnership with the business sector and City staff,” he said.

Marley has more than 20 years of experience as a strategic business advisor in both the public and private sectors in Canada and across the UK. She has provided professional business advisory services including strategic business reviews, large-scale infrastructure investment programs and strategic performance improvement initiatives to various levels of governments and private sector organizations.

More recently, Marley worked in the City of Vancouver’s Business Planning and Project Support team delivering strategic business advisory services to cross-departmental projects and managing prioritized strategic business relationships on behalf of the city. Previous to that, she worked at EY.

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