Brenda Hardaway Lathan Scholarship for Women in Economic Development Established by GTRLINK and MEDC


Golden Triangle, Mississippi – The Golden Triangle Development LINK and the Mississippi Economic Development Council (MEDC) announced a new scholarship, the Brenda Hardaway Lathan Scholarship for Women in Economic Development at the 2020 Awards Luncheon on February 6th at the Westin Jackson.  On hand to present the scholarship were Macaulay Whitaker and Chelsea Baulch. Lathan was also named an Honorary Life Member of the Mississippi Economic Development Council at the event.


“Brenda set a legacy for women in economic development in the state of MS and I owe so much to her for paving a pathway for me to hold a position in this career,” said Baulch, Executive Director of the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce. “She is more than a mentor and this scholarship put together by the LINK is truly such a great way to honor Brenda and continue that legacy for generations of women in ED in MS.”


The new scholarship will annually provide funds to a woman continuing her education in the economic development field with a preference given to minority practitioners.  This scholarship opportunity will be available beginning October 2020.  Qualifications and the application process will be announced in September 2020 through the MS Economic Development Council.


Brenda Hardaway Lathan has been a force in economic development in the State of Mississippi for more than two decades. During her career, she has accomplished a great deal including, but not limited to, 

Investments total $6+ billion and job creation of more than 5,000+ jobs 
Major locations including Steel Dynamics, Inc., PACCAR, Yokohama Tire, Airbus Helicopters, Aurora Flight Sciences 
Three TVA/McCallum-Sweeney Certified Megasites —two occupied by SDI and PACCAR 
Administered federal grants in excess of $200 million 

Authored and awarded grants in excess of $10 million 

During her tenure at the GTR LINK, Lowndes County saw: 

Increase in the value of a Lowndes County mill to be the 5th highest in the State of Mississippi 

Increase in retail tax receipts by 25% from 2003 to 2017 
Reduction of the regional unemployment rate from nearly 13% in 2003 to its current 6.2% 

She was an active member of the International Economic Development Council, Southern Economic Development Council, Mississippi Economic Development Council where she served on the Board, Mississippi Manufacturers Association and Mississippi Economic Council. She has previously served on the board of the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association, and currently serves on the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality commission. 


“We’re proud to be able to honor Brenda in this way,” said Whitaker, COO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK. “It is a fitting celebration of her career that her efforts to encourage and uplift others will be forever carried out through this scholarship.”


Her work has been featured in numerous broadcasts and publications from outlets like 60 Minutes, Forbes, The Atlantic, PBS, The Markle Foundation and Harvard Business Review. 


Brenda has given of her time and talents to the Girl Scouts of America, Columbus Air Force Base, United Way of Lowndes and Noxubee Counties. She is a dedicated member of Tenth Street Fairlawn Baptist Church. MEDC and the Golden Triangle Development LINK are proud to carry on Brenda’s legacy through this scholarship.

To learn more about the Brenda Hardaway Lathan Scholarship for Women in Economic Development please contact:

Mary Swoope, Executive Director
Mississippi Economic Development Council

1675 Lakeland Drive, Suite 502
Jackson, MS 39216
(601) 352 – 1909

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