Downtown Norfolk Council adds 2 execs
Rachel McCall promoted, Laura Wood hired
The Downtown Norfolk Council announced two leadership changes Monday.
Rachel McCall has been promoted to vice president, from director of strategic initiatives. She has been with DNC since 2014 in a variety of roles, advancing the NEON District — Norfolk’s arts district — and other initiatives. In her new role, she will manage placemaking, oversee DNC operations and spearhead NEON District efforts, among other duties.
A not-for-profit organization that includes businesses and individuals “working toward a dynamic, attractive and prosperous downtown,” DNC manages the 50-block Downtown Norfolk Improvement District.
“As a native and a resident of Norfolk, I’m grateful to spend every day working toward a more vibrant, inclusive, walkable and beautiful downtown,” McCall said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to take on a larger role with DNC and share the incredible impact this organization has on our city.”
She’s also a founding board member of the Elizabeth Trail Foundation, chair of the foundation’s events committee and a graduate of the International Downtown Association’s Emerging Leader Fellowship. She earned her bachelor’s degree from William & Mary.
Laura Wood is DNC’s new director of business engagement. She will support programs, services and initiatives that sustain and grow DNC’s economic development. She has worked in the restaurant, tourism and hospitality industry for 25 years as co-owner of Croc’s 19th Street Bistro in Virginia Beach, and as a co-founder of the ViBe Creative District, Old Beach Farmers Market and the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast.
In her new role, she will support the implementation and tracking of economic development strategies for DNC and develop partnerships to support business retention and recruiting, among other duties.
“I see my role at DNC as a bridge builder, and I am excited to be an advocate for the little guys, the small biz and creative communities,” Wood said in a statement. “I have lived and breathed community building and placemaking for several decades and am humbled to play a part in my new role to meet existing business owners in Downtown Norfolk and recruit new ones. Additionally, my experience with law enforcement and all levels of government makes me well suited to support a safe and vibrant downtown.”
She has served on several regional boards, including the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and the FBI Norfolk Citizens Academy Alumni Association, as well as the Virginia ABC Enforcement Expert Review Panel. Wood studied at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and earned an associate degree in interior design from Tidewater Community College.