CHERYAL LEE HILLS
Cheryal joined Region Five Development Commission (R5DC) in 2006 and has a 25+ year national reputation as an action orientated convener with experience in securing resources through authentic relationships, that have spurred equitable economic ecosystems that honor our environmental stewardship commitments in rural Central Minnesota communities.
Cheryal currently provides oversight of seven lending programs and community development initiatives in the spaces of; transportation, workforce development, renewable energy, Climate and Water planning, broadband, local foods, arts/culture, with an intentional focus on the Welcoming Communities program. This program was launched in 2018, when she became a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) assessments to improve regional cultural competency. To date, her organization has delivered IDI to more than 32 groups, 389 people with 146 of those receiving personal IDI assessments and ongoing support.
Via Cheryal’s leadership, R5DC is nationally recognized - one of six Hub experts on delivery of the WealthWorks evaluation model. (See https://www.wealthworks.org/connect/hubs.) Cheryal led one of the nation's only rural Sustainable Communities regional planning efforts during the Obama administration and currently mentors community development practitioners in the Black Belt, Appalachian and Four Corners communities/regions.
Her career experience has depth and breadth in several industries (health care, construction, transportation, technology, finance/lending, agriculture, government services, planning and community development) which allow her to fulfill a role as a central Minnesota leader who coordinates cross sectional industries and partners who seek to advance the quality of life for underserved rural people.