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Jessica McDaniel

Q: What is your current job?
A: Began as director of Small Business Center at Randolph Community College on March 1. I recently founded a nonprofit, Rural RedThread!, which focuses on community development through education and entrepreneurship. We are partnering with a new business, ventURE @ The Mercantile! This is a business started by a long-time colleague and friend, and REDI alumnus, Jonathan Thill.  ventURE is a network of co-working spaces that is for entrepreneurs and business people in rural communities. The town of Troy in Montgomery County is our first location.
Q: What was your previous position?
A: Small Business Center director at Montgomery Community College.
Q: What is your connection to rural NC?
A: I have always worked in rural North Carolina. I grew up in Davidson County, which was a rural county at one time, and still reside there.
Q: What do you see as some of the greatest assets in rural NC?
A: Rural North Carolina has so much to offer! For example, Montgomery County is the heartbeat of the Uwharrie Mountains and is full of heritage, community, and adventure! Rural communities in North Carolina are an attractive and enticing place for families to settle down just outside of metropolitan areas to raise children. The “small-town” life is appealing, and rural communities can maximize on this opportunity for tourism and economic growth. 
Q:  What brings you the greatest satisfaction in your work?
A: Although there are a number of Small Business Center directors who are experts on just about everything, our job is not necessarily to know all there is to know about small business and entrepreneurship. Our job is to act as a resource provider. There is nothing, in my opinion, more satisfying than a client that says thank you for being by my side. The greatest satisfaction for me is getting the opportunity to be the researcher, cheerleader, counselor, and coach to some of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the opportunity to meet.
Q:  As an alumni, what was your biggest take away from REDI?

A: REDI was an incredible experience for me. While it was full of amazing educational sessions, the biggest take away for me was the network of resources and connections. I heard presentations from some amazing and influential speakers, met and participated with other community leaders pursuing positive impact in rural North Carolina.