The City of Asheville recognized one of its own at the City Council Meeting on December 12, but we’re not alone. As current Equity and Inclusion Director Brenda Mills prepares to retire in the new year, several local and state organizations took time to thank her for decades of service to the community and western North Carolina. Brenda Mills has been an invaluable professional resource for the City of Asheville for 18 years, with 33 years of experience in local government.
Mills joined the City of Asheville in 2005 and has served in multiple roles including Minority Business Program Manager, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Project Manager, Administrative Services Manager, Economic Development Specialist, Neighborhood & Community Engagement Specialist, and is currently the Director of Equity & Inclusion.
The hard work and dedication shown by Mills were recognized in November by both the Land of Sky Regional Council and the North Carolina Minority Women Business Enterprise Network.
The Land of Sky Regional Council was proud to award Mills the Robert E. Shepherd Excellence in Local Government Excellence Award. It is presented to a local government professional who has shown great leadership in improving governance and service delivery, especially in regional cooperation and collaboration.
The NC Minority Women Business Enterprise Network honored Mills with the “Standing Shoulders of Giants” Award. The Raleigh-based ceremony recognized Mills for her unwavering commitment and outstanding achievements in creating economic opportunities for minority firms. Standing on the Shoulder of Giants is awarded to a select few who have made profound contributions to the advancement of minority business concerns and the development of professionals in the business inclusion and supplier diversity field.
“I am honored to present this award to Brenda for her countless contributions to the work of diversity. Her impact on the minority business community, emerging leaders in economic inclusion, and local government procurement and economic development is remarkable – a true reflection of her passion for equity and justice,” stated Denisha Harris, President.
Mills is a founding member of the Network, organized in 1987, serving as Secretary, Vice-President, and President. Under her leadership, the organization obtained status as a recognized non-profit organization in the State of North Carolina and began professional development initiatives, including the ideation of a credentialing program with the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government.
The City of Asheville appreciates the exceptional work and tireless commitment Ms. Mills has brought over the course of her public career.