KINGSTON—Roane Alliance President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Henderson has announced she will retire at the end of March.
She has been the president and CEO of The Roane Alliance, the county’s economic development organization, since Feb. 16, 2004. Henderson announced her retirement in a Tuesday letter to Sharon Templeton, Roane Alliance board chair.
“Although I struggled with this decision, I feel now that it is the right time to start on the next phase of my life and start working on some of that bucket list—travel, writing, project work, family time, and maybe even some business ventures of my own,” Henderson said in the letter.
“As for The Alliance, I think the time is also right, as the staff is not only one of the best I’ve ever worked with, but is also well-positioned to do great things for Roane County going forward. Each of them is very competent and capable,” Henderson said. “All I do is keep them focused and provide the tools they need. I could not be more proud of their successes.”
Templeton said she understood and supported Henderson’s impending departure.
“Leslie has worked very hard at the Alliance for the past 10 years and certainly deserves to take a little time for herself,” Templeton said. “We have already begun our discussions on the search for her successor.”
Henderson said she will help ensure a smooth transition to a successor and will always feel a sense of ownership in the Alliance’s success. During her tenure, Henderson has been instrumental in bringing 10 new industrial projects to Roane County, the most recent one being Volkswagen’s new distribution center, a press release said. She came to the Alliance from the City of Knoxville, where she had been development director under former Mayor Victor Ashe. During her tenure in Knoxville, she oversaw the redevelopment of Market Square in downtown Knoxville, as well as implementation of a new downtown residential tax incentives program.
“The Alliance is an amazing place, accomplishing amazing things,” Henderson said in her letter. “I am so appreciative to have had a chance to be a part of it and am proud of what we have achieved. The future of The Alliance looks bright, and I look forward to cheering it on from the sidelines.”
Henderson serves on the International Advisory Committee of the International Economic Development Council, and she was featured in the March 2006 Business Tennessee magazine in their Executive Profile.
The Roane Alliance consists of both public and private organizations, including the Roane County Chamber of Commerce, the Roane County Industrial Development Board, and the Roane County Visitors’ Bureau.