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Martinsville Uptown director leaving
Laura Bowles' successor is sought
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Laura Bowles

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Laura Bowles will step down as the executive director of Martinsville Uptown in June, and a new director is being sought.

Bowles said she is leaving the post because her husband, Tom Laub, accepted a position as a history professor at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss.

“It will be hard to leave” Martinsville and Henry County, family and friends, and the organizations she is and?or has supported, said Bowles.

She is on the New College Institute (NCI) board, the NCI Foundation Board and Phoenix Community Development Corp., and she is president of the Martinsville-Henry County SPCA board, she said.

She has been executive director of Martinsville Uptown for the last 21?2 years, Bowles said.

The two things she is “most enthusiastic about are the Oktoberfest, which I think has really turned around and become a big event that brings the community together, and I’m really excited about the Shop Local Initiative.”

That initiative, she said, has generated “a positive interest from the community” and residents are “taking the message of shopping locally to heart.

“I think it’s got a lot more potential. We are excited about the website” that was launched with the initiative, Bowles said of the “one stop, one shop community” site.

She is trying to finish other programs and projects before stepping down, Bowles said, and she hopes to help train her successor at Martinsville Uptown.

A bachelor’s degree is required to be considered for the post, according to the ad. Applicants also must be outgoing and self starters.

Preferred experience includes fundraising, project management, grant and budget writing, public speaking, professional networking and volunteer management.

“I hope we get somebody that has a passion for this and has the skills to keep the organization moving forward,” Bowles said.

She has not yet decided what she will do after she moves to Mississippi at the end of July.

“I’ve contemplated studying for the Mississippi Bar” exam to obtain her law license there “because unfortunately, it does not transfer” from state to state, she said.

But Bowles is certain of one thing.

“I’ve loved my time working in community development with Martinsville Uptown, and I have been really driven to try to enhance our community with my involvement with a variety of nonprofits,” she said. “It’s going to be hard to walk away from all these groups that I am heavily invested in.”

Also, her parents and much of “my extended family live here, so it will be difficult to leave,” she said, adding that she anticipates she and Laub will visit regularly.


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