Marla Bilonick Named Executive Director of Latino Economic Development Center
WASHINGTON – After a nationwide search, Marla Bilonick has been named Executive Director of the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC).
Marla has been serving as Interim Executive Director of LEDC since May and has over 15 years of experience directing and developing economic development initiatives. Under her leadership, LEDC has continued to provide critical affordable housing and small business development services throughout the DC metropolitan area. She is an Emerging Leader in Microbusiness (ELM2) under the Aspen Institute’s FIELD program and served on Mayor Vincent Gray’s Business Regulatory Reform Task Force.
Over the past year, LEDC provided over 750 DC area entrepreneurs with technical assistance and small business training; made 123 microloans totaling over $1.5 million; counseled and trained 500 clients on financial literacy and buying their first home; and organized tenants in 84 buildings, which provide more than 2,913 units of affordable housing.
“There is no one who knows LEDC better than Marla and we have continually been impressed with her dedication and commitment to the organization,” said Noralisa Leo, Chairwoman of the LEDC Board of Directors. “Her experience in the community development field and ability to manage large-scale projects and teams is a perfect match for LEDC in this critical period of growth and expansion.”
“I am thrilled to have been chosen to lead such a respected organization and see great opportunities ahead for LEDC.” says Bilonick, “I am excited for the future and am wholeheartedly committed to LEDC; the clients & communities we serve; and our talented, hard-working staff.”
Prior to joining LEDC in 2012, Marla worked for Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI) where she led new business development marketing missions in Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua and her native Panama. Before DAI, she spent seven years in New York working for Seedco, helping to initiate and develop their small business support services in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001. As Director of the Upper Manhattan Business Solutions Center in Harlem, a full-service business center that provided no-cost consulting and access to financing to New York City businesses, she helped increase client volume by 100% in her first six months and worked closely with the New York City Government’s Department of Small Business Services to ensure that the Center was meeting its contract performance targets and financial metrics. While at Seedco she also provided technical assistance on financial management to two NYC Latino community-based organizations via the Community Organization Financial Assistance Program.
Bilonick grew up in Montgomery County and is a graduate of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, the University of Wisconsin at Madison and holds a Masters in International Economics and Latin American Studies from the John Hopkins University, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies-SAIS. She currently serves on DC’s Small Business Policy Project Steering Committee, on the Board of the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, and on Montgomery County’s Department of Economic Development’s Economic Strategy Advisory Group. Marla lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband, Tim, and three children, Matteo, Luca, and Romy.