ROI’s Meet the Team Series is meant to showcase some of our exceptional team members and share in their passion for all things economic development. We also have a little bit of fun to help you get to know the ROI Team more personally.
Meet Lara Assaad, Economic Development Manager at ROI Research On Investment. The ROI team is filled with exceptional individuals with diverse and interesting backgrounds, and Lara is no exception! Lara is an expert at managing our clients’ projects and matching them with the right companies for their region. Her ability to deliver outstanding results has made her an essential member of our team.
Can you tell us more about yourself and how you discovered the world of economic development?
I guess economic development discovered me! My background was teaching English and music, which required a lot of speaking. I enjoy interacting with people and learning about different cultures, tastes, and interests. When I graduated from school in Canada, I was looking for an internship and got a job opportunity at ROI. It took me a little while to understand the rich and complex world of economic development, and then once I did, I quickly built an appreciation for it and now really enjoy working in this domain.
What is your role here at ROI?
I am an Economic Development Manager which involves project management of different contracts within our varied and diverse clientele. It requires understanding their needs and finding relevant investment opportunities for their respective regions. On the flip side, I am also tasked with speaking with numerous decision-makers at companies to be a matchmaker between the two worlds.
What trends are you seeing in the world of economic development? What are clients looking for?
I’ve noticed that within the past couple of years, clients have been more interested in greentech and environmentally friendly projects. Also, due to the pandemic, many companies have shifted their expansion strategies to focus more on talent acquisition and retention as well as being closer to supply chain networks.
What does economic development mean to you?
Economic development is a great opportunity for growing companies to locate within a suitable region to take advantage of market opportunities while at the same time contributing to the local economy and workforce placement.
If there was one thing you wish everyone knew about economic development, what would it be?
Economic development is fun and dynamic and it is a well-hidden gem because not a lot of decision-makers are aware of the benefit of working with an economic development organization and taking advantage of the region’s offerings. This helps a company to use an EDO to be an extended part of their expansion team which reduces the amount of legwork a company has to do on its own.
Do you have an inspirational quote you enjoy?
“This too shall pass” by Shakespeare, which transcends well, given that we just went through a pandemic and showed the resilience of people and that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
What’s the one song you can play on repeat all day long?
What’s the first concert you attended?
It was an opera by Pavarotti in 1999.
Favorite ice cream flavor?
Salted caramel butter pecan
Early bird or a night owl?