Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson, former commissioner of the town of Sylva, has been appointed to the Dogwood Health Trust Board of Directors.

Dogwood Health Trust, a private, non-operating foundation whose purpose is to improve the health and well-being of all people and communities of Western North Carolina.

Thompson is executive director of the Southwestern North Carolina Planning and Economic Development Commission, an organization she has served for the past eight years. In that role, Thompson oversees programs in the region’s seven westernmost counties – including 17 municipalities and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians – related to workforce advancement and retention, aging services, and community and economic investment.

Since 2016, Thompson has also served as administrator of the Mountain West Partnership, an organization that helps facilitate networking and capital financing opportunities for new or existing businesses in Western North Carolina.

“Sarah is a connector who has spent her career creating relationships and building bridges of opportunity,” said Dogwood Health Trust Board Chair Janice Brumit. “Dogwood Health Trust will benefit greatly from her experience linking community and economic development.”

Previously, Thompson was executive director of the Downtown Sylva Association (now known as the Main Street Sylva Association), which works to enhance the city’s urban areas. She also served as Sylva city commissioner from 2007 to 2011 and chaired the Jackson County Planning Board from 2013 to 2015.

“During my time on the Dogwood Health Trust Board, I hope to be able to use my community-building expertise to prioritize initiatives that will reduce the social and financial burdens that negatively affect the health and well-being of Western North Carolinians,” Thompson said.

Thompson currently chairs the Board of Thread Capital, which connects small businesses with funding, personalized coaching and social capital enhancement opportunities, and is member of the board of the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center. She is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and earned her master’s in public affairs from Western Carolina University.