Member Highlight: Maria Laughner

Jun 24, 2024 | Uncategorized

June 2024 Member Highlight

Marie Laughner
Deputy Economic Development Director – Strategic Initiatives, City of Mesa

How long have you been an AAED member?
On and off since 2002! But consistently since 2018.

What do you enjoy most about being an AAED member?
AAED offers terrific professional development and networking opportunities. I also like that the organization promotes collaboration among practitioners, which I think is extremely important for our regional success.

What most excites you about living and working in Arizona?
I’m a native, so I am biased 😊 Arizona is such an exciting place and has just flourished in the last 25 or so years. I can’t wait to see what the next 25 years will be like!

How did you come to work in the economic development profession?
Right place, right time. I had been working in the medical device space when the opportunity to work in economic development arose, specifically to recruit bioscience companies. I jumped on and never looked back.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy walking my dog, yoga, hanging out in Flagstaff, hiking, traveling, and chilling out with a glass of wine.

What’s your favorite Arizona location for a weekend trip?

What’s your favorite holiday and why?
Halloween – though it isn’t the day itself, but the weeks leading up to Halloween. Stores are filled with autumn leaves, pumpkins, and owls and everyone decorates their houses for fall even though the daily highs are still above 100 degrees. PSL and autumn colors give me such a great feeling of “Whew! Summer is over!” The weather turning from summer to fall revitalizes me, which is why Halloween is my favorite.