Ashley Stolba (left), Sarah Stanton (middle) and Layla D’Emilia (right) have joined the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao has appointed new undersecretaries and realigned her office to better focus on key sectors of the economy and ensure continued economic support for all communities and residents.

Hao said her office is now structured under three pillars of economic development:
• Economic Foundations, focused on regional, rural and small business growth, as well as infrastructure, seaport and military installation support
• Economic Strategies, focused on tourism and international trade, new federal opportunities in areas such as life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and clean energy, and the cross-secretariat Workforce Skills Cabinet
• Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, which will be more fully integrated into the office’s overall economic development strategy

Ashley Stolba, who had served as undersecretary of Community Development since 2021, was named undersecretary of Economic Foundations. She will continue to lead the community development team by managing the Community One Stop for Growth, serving as vice-chair of the Seaport Economic Council, overseeing work to close the digital divide, and maintaining the state’s military installations. She will also now oversee areas such as regional businesses, assisted by the Massachusetts Office of Business Development; small, micro and immigrant-led businesses; and the new Director of Rural Affairs. She will serve as the secretariat’s climate officer and will work with quasi-government agencies such as MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation.

Sarah Stanton, the new undersecretary of Economic Strategies, will oversee new growth initiatives that build upon the work of the Economic Development Foundations team. She will be responsible for the state’s tourism and international trade sectors through the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism and the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment. She will also lead the office’s efforts on the cross-secretariat Workforce Skills Cabinet and help coordinate federal opportunities like CHIPS and Science Act funding, ARPA-H, and climate-tech investment. She will work closely with quasi-government partners the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and MassVentures. Stanton previously held a number of roles in local government, including town manager in Bedford, budget director in Cambridge, and finance director in Salem.

Layla D’Emilia has been promoted to undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, where she will oversee five regulatory agencies: the divisions of Banks, Insurance, Occupational Licensure, Telecommunications and Cable, and Standards. D’Emilia previously served as commissioner of the Division of Occupational Licensure.

The leadership team appointments were announced on April 20.

The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development will soon be renamed the Executive Office of Economic Development as Gov. Maura Healey creates a new Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities that will be charged with expanding the work now done by the Department of Housing and Community Development.

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