With a passion for both the arts and for West Virginia, Alissa Laird describes her job as development director of Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg as a "perfect fit."
"It's exactly what I want to be doing," said Laird, a former educator who has taught in the contrasting scenarios from inner city Detroit to rural Arizona. "I am very passionate about, and deeply love, the Greenbrier Valley. The arts are to be commended in this region for our economic growth."
Laird is a University of Michigan graduate with a background in English, history and education. She also has an MBA from Antioch University in New Hampshire with an emphasis on organizational sustainability and longevity.
She fell in love with the Mountain State and her future husband while on a vacation to the New River Gorge. Paul Laird is from Fayetteville.
"I never thought that I would live in West Virginia, but I fell in love with the outdoors here and I fell in love with my husband," said Laird, who enjoys the diverse hobbies of rock climbing and playing the cello.
Her first job in Greenbrier County was in business management at the Family Refuge Center, an agency that provides assistance to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Laird joined the staff at Carnegie Hall in late 2012.
As development director, she is responsible for the income aspects for one of four Carnegie locations worldwide. Laird works with donors such as grantors, foundations, corporations and individuals "making sure their philanthropic goals are met while helping the organization thrive." The Hall has a budget of $1 million.
"It is very important to continue to be able to present high-quality arts experiences while preserving this important historical place," she said of the venue financed by Andrew Carnegie and built in 1906.
In addition to her career, Laird is active in Rotary and Generation Greenbrier Valley. She serves as treasurer of Alderson Renaissance Corporation, a housing nonprofit in Greenbrier County.