MPA, Central Michigan University
BA, Communication, University of Alabama
Michelle D. Jackson is an experienced public policy and economic development professional with a demonstrated track record working cross-functionally with federal, state, academic, and private industry leaders on highly-publicized initiatives. Jackson has worked with key leaders on economic development programs to assist traditional businesses and start-up ventures with long-term economic growth. Before joining the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) in 2009 as a Governor’s Policy Fellow, she worked in the commercial real estate industry as a shopping center manager, corporate lease negotiator, and marketing director for over ten years.
In 2010, Jackson was selected to lead the state of Maryland’s effort to develop the InvestMaryland Program (Senate Bill 180 | House Bill 173), a first-of-its-kind Governor supported legislative initiative designed to raise funds for seed and early-stage high-tech businesses by selling tax credits to the state's largest insurance companies. After building support for the InvestMaryland Program with the state’s business leaders and legislators, Jackson provided executive-level project management, advocated for, and testified on behalf of the bill before the General Assembly. Her dedication played a key role in its passage.
Because of her work, the state made history by raising $84 million dollars using a web-based tax auction platform. She was also instrumental in the development and staffing of the governing arm of the initiative - the Maryland Venture Fund Authority. Media sources, colleges, and state governments have recognized Jackson's work throughout the years. InvestMaryland was ultimately considered a national best practice by the National Governors’ Association.
In 2011, Jackson was assigned to the position of DBED’s Acting Director for the Office of Policy and Government Affairs. While in this role, she reviewed and advocated (for and against) economic development legislation.
Jackson was promoted several times to key positions while working for the state of Maryland. She was the economic development agency’s first Federal Facilities Director within the Office of Military and Federal Affairs (OMFA). During her time with OMFA, she provided executive-level leadership for the Federal Facilities Advisory Board (FFAB) and took the lead on coordinating high-level federal agency briefings, meetings, and tours. These events were attended by state and federal public officials, including Governor Martin O’Malley, U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin, and U.S. Representatives Steny Hoyer and Chris Van Hollen, as well as federal agency and military leaders. She also co-wrote the Strategic Business Plan: Supporting Maryland’s Federal Facilities.
Jackson was appointed as Director of Boards and Commissions. In this role, she provided direct oversight for the Maryland Economic Development Commission (MEDC) and Maryland Venture Fund Authority (MVFA) and indirect support for the Taskforce on Industrial Job Creation in Baltimore County and the Governor's Commission on Small Business. Jackson oversaw the appointment/replacement of 200+ Governor appointees on 15+ DBED-administered boards and commissions. She wrote strategic plans with statewide implications in this position and represented the Agency on several economic development committees.
In 2012, Jackson was selected to lead the Agency’s first division focused on innovation and entrepreneurship - the Office of Strategic Industries and Innovations (OSII). The new division’s role was to create partnerships with the state’s tech community and nurture economic growth.
She currently lives in New Orleans, LA, and is the owner of PR Solutions LLC, a strategic marketing firm, the author of three books, the executive director of LifeSkills Foundation, and the founder of the Black Writers Workspace Online Community.