Chilton is a community and economic development practitioner. She has extensive work experience in the public sector with applied research and empirical aspects of economic development and in the private sector as a business owner. In November 2008, she joined the NC Rural Center as the NC Small Towns Economic Prosperity (STEP) senior coach working in many small towns across the state and overseeing other STEP coaches. In 2014, she became the director of community engagement. In her work at the Rural Center, she applies economic development concepts and principles to actual, on-the-ground situations and conditions.
Prior to joining the Rural Center, she was the deputy director of the Appalachian Regional Development Institute at Appalachian State University focusing on community and economic development issues in northwest North Carolina. The Appalachian Regional Development Institute was an applied research and public service program addressing economic, business, government, and social issues and problems related to regional community and economic development.
Chilton earned her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law and a master’s from The George Washington University School of Public and International Affairs. Her undergraduate degree is in journalism and political science from UNC-CH. She attended Appalachian State University for her general college requirements in Watauga College.
She grew up on a dairy farm in the Lowcountry of South Carolina and still maintains her rural roots—when not in Raleigh and traveling the state, she lives in the beautiful mountains of Ashe County near West Jefferson.