SLC Appoints First Latino Director for Economic Development

Lorena Riffo Jenson was recently named the new director of the Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development after serving as the department’s acting director since July. (Office of the Mayor of Salt Lake City)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced Wednesday that Lorena Riffo Jenson will take the helm as director of the Department of Economic Development.

Riffo Jenson, who has served as the department’s interim director since July, is the first Latina to lead the department, which oversees the Salt Lake City Arts Council and the city’s business development team, as well as initiatives such as Tech Lake City and American Rescue Plan Act. Community grants.

Riffo Jenson is the third director of the department, which was formed in 2016. She previously served as deputy director under her predecessor Benjamin Kolendar.

“Lorena is a tremendous asset to our city’s economic development department. Over the past year and a half, she has helped our local businesses recover from a global pandemic while strengthening ties with the business community” , Mendenhall said in a press release. “I enjoyed working with her and have confidence in her abilities. Our residents will benefit from having her in this role.”

Riffo Jenson has a diverse background in education and executive leadership, according to the press release. Her career includes leading Utah’s hospitality program during the 2002 Winter Olympics and founding VOX Creative, a marketing and advertising agency.

“I am grateful to work with the dedicated and passionate economic development team,” Riffo Jenson said in the press release. “I look forward to continuing the mission of making Salt Lake City a better place not only to build a business, but a better place to build a life. Through our focus on human-centered economic development, we can develop and nurture a a city that promotes the creation of well-paying jobs, equitable economic opportunity, thriving business districts emphasizing Tech Lake City and its neighborhoods, and a diverse arts and culture scene.

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Sydnee Gonzalez is a multicultural reporter for covering the diversity of Utah people and communities. Dressed Spanish. You can find Sydnee at @sydnee_gonzalez on Twitter.

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