Lynn A. Knight, CEcD
Bringing together chapters as an entrepreneur, international business executive, government and international non-profit leader, Lynn Knight has worked in 13 countries, 26 U.S. states and 4 territories. She has won awards as an author, entrepreneur, corporate executive and dedicated community volunteer serving education, disaster recovery and environmental sustainability.
Lynn is a Certified Economic Developer and currently serves as the International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) Vice President of Knowledge Management and Development. In this role, she manages the team that is tasked with creating content for thought-leading annual conferences, training courses, a virtual learning program, research publications, newsletter and quarterly journal. She also serves as program director for IEDC’s economic recovery and resilience portfolio, which currently assists communities in multiple states and U.S. territories that have experienced natural or manmade disasters. In 2015, she served as editor of the Leadership in Times of Crisis toolkit, published in partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration, and developed courses for community leaders in economic development, economic recovery and resiliency that have been taught across America. Lynn is the principal author of The Changing Energy Landscape and its Impact on Economic Development in America, a 2018 publication of IEDC’s national think tank, the Economic Development Research Partners. In 2014, Lynn led the customization of economic development marketing and business retention courses, teaching a program to 23 municipalities in Bosnia-Herzegovina for USAID and the EU.
Prior to joining IEDC, Lynn was Director of Economic Development & Tourism Programs for Management Analysis, Inc., an international consulting firm where she led projects in 7 states and territories. This included economic development and tourism strategic plans, a tourism master plan, revitalization plans one of America’s leading art centers and targeted area redevelopment in Virginia. For the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, she developed a visitor plan for the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey; performed a statewide study and economic valuation of Heritage Tourism in Utah; and conducted published research in public-private partnerships for the Asian Development Bank.
A subject matter expert in tourism, Lynn has managed hotels and trained in Tourism Product Development with the U.N. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and European Travel Commission. In 2011 she participated in the 4th United Nations Conference on Least Developed Nations panels on “Recovering Tourism after a Crisis” and “Connecting the Value of Tourism to Agriculture.” She has created tourism dashboards, tourist exist surveys, and led tourism development planning for multiple destinations.
In 2009, Lynn served as the Governor’s Representative of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Washington D.C., focusing on economic development, tourism, immigration and labor issues. Her prior work included appointments by two Governors of the territory to lead economic development commissions which produced comprehensive economic development strategies (CEDS). She also served for 10 years on the Governor’s Strategic Economic Development Council, Strategic Workforce Action Team, and Governor’s Tourism Task Force. She was elected board chair and president of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, and served two terms as board chair of the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands.
For 8 years Lynn was Vice President of Corporate Affairs for TanHoldings and served the board of its parent company, Luen Thai, which operated global companies and regional interests as the largest privately-held firm in the West Pacific. With headquarters in Hong Kong and offices in Guam, Saipan, Manila, Tokyo, and several cities in China, the company operated affiliates in a dozen industries, including the world’s largest manufacturer of designer apparel. In addition to manufacturing, Lynn was involved in executive team management of an international tour company, publishing, real estate, logistics, software, a cargo airline, a shipping line, fishing, entertainment and insurance. She was a member of the executive committee of Asia-Pacific Hotels, supporting the acquisition and rebranding of several resorts. She developed the luxury spa at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan and a restaurant at the Century Hotel. Lynn also served as VP and publisher of an affiliated daily newspaper and as executive director of the TanHoldings Foundation.
As an entrepreneur, Lynn founded and owned a full service public relations and advertising agency, Sunset Advertising Group, Inc., which served leading clients in the West Pacific for 14 years. She produced a TV documentary on the 50th Commemoration of the World War II Battle for Saipan and co-authored a book on the native Marine Scouts. Her media work included a short stint leading a television news team as Saipan Bureau Chief / News Anchor for a cable TV firm.
Early in her career, Lynn was Director of the Office of the Chairman of the California-based ComputerLand Corporation, a $1.4B retailer with 880 franchised stores in 26 countries. She also managed a charitable foundation affiliated with the firm.