An interview with Katie Loudin, the newest addition to The Hub team

Katie Loudin, Director of Strategic Development

We at The Hub are thrilled to announce the newest addition to our Executive Leadership Team, Katie Loudin. Katie will serve in a brand new role as the Director of Strategic Development to help grow the overall capacity of The Hub. Though she is just joining our team this May, Katie has a robust understanding of The Hub’s work, as a partner, resident of Buckhannon (a former Hub community), and board member. Katie brings extensive knowledge of leadership development to this new role, so she can assist our team and communities in stepping up to challenges and serving those around them with confidence and efficiency. In the coming months, you can look forward to content from Katie about identifying and fostering leaders in your own community. Though she is in a new role with The Hub, she is definitely not new to community development work in West Virginia. Learn a little more about Katie below.

Can you describe your journey to working at The Hub? What brought you to this chapter of your life?

I honestly can’t remember how I learned about The Hub, as, like many West Virginians, I’ve just probably been in The Hub’s orbit for as long as I’ve been in West Virginia. I knew that The Hub was instrumental in the formation of Create Buckhannon through HubCAP, and I became involved with Create Buckhannon when I began working in the Center for Community Engagement at West Virginia Wesleyan College about 10 years ago. As a community member, I saw the very real impacts of community development as they manifested themselves in my community through the transformation of Jawbone Park, Festival Fridays, public art through Art 26201, increased river and trail access, and more. 

I joined the WV Hub Board of Directors in 2016. It was at this time that I got a more robust understanding of The Hub’s work across the state beyond my view in Buckhannon. I learned more about the community coaching program, as well as the policy and communications work. 

I departed West Virginia Wesleyan College to join Barbara Wyckoff and Kent Spellman at the One Foundation, a WV Hub partner. As both a funder-partner and board treasurer, I had a unique view of The Hub’s work and organizational structures. I was engaged through the strategic planning and community development network processes, and I always felt like my input and perspective were valuable to The Hub’s strategy and vision for West Virginia communities. When the opportunity to join The Hub team manifested itself this spring, it seemed like a natural fit for my skills, interests, and my prior knowledge of The Hub’s work. I’ve always been an admirer and cheerleader on the sides, but now I have the opportunity to roll up my sleeves alongside the incredibly talented Hub staff, and I feel immensely grateful for the opportunity to join the team.

What does community development mean to you?

Even though I’ve been in and around this work for some time, this is still a hard question to answer. Community development can take many forms and the story is different for every community. Essentially, community development to me is about a group of people–people who are willing to step into a leadership gap without self-serving motivations–working together to increase the livability and inclusivity of a place. It can look like public art, access to local food, recreation opportunities, small business development and support, main street redevelopment, community gathering events, or something else entirely. It’s about looking at the assets that exist in your community and asking how they can be leveraged, lifted up, or expanded to increase quality of life for community members or even attract new residents to the community. 

Why is leadership development crucial to community development work?

Leadership development is crucial to community development work because people are the heartbeat of any community. The work of community transformation isn’t possible without a group of people who are willing to take on the mantle of leadership responsibility. 

Many community volunteers that I’ve met through this work are very humble, salt-of-the-earth people. They started doing something because they just saw something that needed to be done, and often, no one else was around to do it. They don’t necessarily see themselves as leaders at all. Eventually, good work gets noticed and other people will join you. At that point, a humble volunteer needs to learn how to lead with others in order to increase their impact. Empowered leaders empower others, and it is this kind of momentum that has led to great success in communities around the world throughout history. 

What efforts are you excited to work on moving forward? What excited you most about this work?

Honestly, I’m really excited about increasing efficiencies in The Hub’s operations and financial management systems so the organization can reach new levels of impact and visibility in the region and on the national stage. I hope to bring my perspective and my years of experience in leadership and partnership development to The Hub. I do my best work when I can lift up others’ efforts, and that’s why I took the opportunity to work with an incredible team of thoughtful, determined, and compassionate leaders.

I see The Hub’s work every day as a citizen-leader in Buckhannon: I am engaged in Create Buckhannon; my family enjoys Festival Fridays throughout the summer; and I deeply appreciate our public art, bustling Main Street, local businesses, and recreation trails. When sitting in Create Buckhannon or Upshur County School Board meetings, I see people listening, trying to understand, compromising, offering solutions, and continually seeking opportunities to make our community better and stronger. This is what community is all about to me, and I hope that my work at The Hub will help others to feel as connected to their community as I am to mine.


Katie Loudin is The Hub’s Director of Strategic Development. You can reach her at k.loudin@wvhub.org.

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Systemic Change

2021 became a time period of catalytic potential as we saw years of investment into our core strategies to enact systemic change yield new results. Our strategic focus areas include policy, communications, and supporting the community economic development system in leveraging unique financing opportunities such as the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Initiative and Opportunity Zones.

In addition, through our strategic policy support role within the Abandoned Properties Coalition, The Hub successfully advanced two key objectives: a statewide land bank and extension of the state’s Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit. 

Through the Opportunity Appalachia program, 6 catalytic community projects located in WV-based Opportunity Zones received $250,000 for pre-development technical assistance. Three projects received additional private funding as a result of program participation.

Cowen

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies. Read their community case study.

Montgomery

Residents participated in the Cultivate WV program to kickstart community and economy building. Read their community case study.

Smithers

Residents participated in the Cultivate WV program to kickstart community and economy building. Read their community case study.

Kingwood

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.

Lewis County

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.

Meadow River Valley Region

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Read their community case study.

Monticello Neighborhood of Clarksburg

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Watch their community documentary.

New Martinsville

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Read their community case study.

Parsons

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.

Elkins

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies. 

A core team led by Woodlands Development Group also participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

Community Coaching

In 2021, we accompanied 16 communities through our in-depth, professional coaching programs. In addition to leaning into coaching and financing opportunities offered through these programs, participating communities leveraged an additional $2.8 million in funding on their own for community economic development projects. While participating in our entry-level coaching program, Cultivate WV, Montgomery and Smithers realized momentum-building success through access to $40,000 in seed funding for projects like farmers markets, public art, wayfinding, community events, and development of a trail system.

Six communities, Lewis County, Kingwood, Meadow River Valley, Monticello neighborhood in Clarksburg, New Martinsville and Parsons, graduated the intermediate planning program Blueprint Communities* with strategic plans in place. We also launched a new round of HubCAP, our flagship community economic development program, in six towns located in the Monongahela National Forest region: Cowen, Franklin, White Sulphur Springs, Elkins, Marlinton, and Petersburg.

Franklin

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Marlinton

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Petersburg

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

White Sulphur Springs

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Charleston

A core team led by Crawford Holdings, LLC participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

Huntington

Core teams led by Thundercloud, Inc. and the City of Huntington participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support community development projects located in Opportunity Zones.

Grafton

A core team led by Unleash Tygart, Inc participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

Leadership Development

As hundreds of people began to engage in our virtual training activities in 2020, we saw a critical opportunity to scale and deepen our impact. This year, The Hub team developed an accessible, virtual platform with options for self-guided and group learning activities as well as professional coaching.

Kickstart Communities is now the crux of our efforts to bring new people into the work and grow their leadership. These activities now form the foundational stages of a Community Leadership Development Pipeline to move motivated residents from seeing the challenges in their communities to proactively collaborating to resolve them.

Message from our Executive Leadership Team

Fifteen years ago, stakeholders building up local communities and economies in West Virginia convened to map a coordinated strategy to systemically grow community economic development activity in the state. From the shared vision and collaborative leadership of dozens of strategic partners across the state, the WV Community Development Hub was born.

Since that time, The Hub has grown into the anchor community development organization serving West Virginia. We have built upon the original vision to create a method for rural, community-led development strategies that is uniquely tailored to the needs and opportunities of our state.

As we have grown and developed a proven model for success, our partnerships with community and economic development practitioners, funders, and committed West Virginia residents have been foundational to every element of our work.

Over the past two years, the team at The Hub has adapted to the unprecedented challenges our communities have faced during the pandemic by leaning into our core strengths to deepen our impact. The Hub remains committed to tackling persistent challenges, and we have focused our attention on the most impactful elements of our work.

We are supporting community leaders to advance their visions for local development, creating new pathways for engagement and leadership growth through our virtual training platform, and leading strategies that lift up voices of community leaders to move forward solutions to long-held challenges to growth.

If the past two years have taught us anything, it is that nothing about the future is set in stone. While the coming year may present enormous opportunities for advancement in our state, they will also inevitably require significant capacity building, shared strategies that are grounded in trust-based partnerships, and extended efforts to support the leadership development of individuals and organizations who have been asked to do more during a time of extreme stress and strain.

The services that anchor organizations like The Hub provide are even more critical in this time, and we expect our work to scale significantly in the coming years ahead.

We look forward to continuing to do the work of putting into action the vision and the shared strategies envisioned by that core group of community economic development practitioners and funders fifteen years ago.

In Continued Accompaniment,

– WV Community Development Hub
Executive Leadership Team

Stephanie Tyree

Executive Director

Amanda Workman Scott

Director of Community Engagement

Emma Pepper

Director of Strategic Network Communications

Katie Loudin

Director of Strategic Development