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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2024 Grand Challenge: Business Resilience
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

LaChaun Banks

Research Fellow, Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise; Professor of the Practice, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

LaChaun Banks is a research fellow at the Kenan Institute, working specifically on the drivers of place-based economic growth as part of the American Growth Project initiative. This includes helping to expand the institute’s outreach and visibility with public officials, corporate partners and other stakeholders in major metropolitan areas around the country.

She also serves as a professor of the practice in the strategy and entrepreneurship area at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, creating and teaching courses on economic development as well as developing experiential learning programs for undergraduate and MBA students.

Before this role, LaChaun worked at Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, and the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative where she managed the deployment and adoption of the newly launched City Leader Guide for Equitable Economic Development with mayors across the country and internationally.

LaChaun has also served as the associate director for practitioner communities with the Ash Center’s Innovations in Government Program, where she managed a network of the 45 largest cities and urban markets in the United States. She was previously the associate director for NCGrowth, where she led programs in economic development and managed teams that supported local startups and businesses in rural areas.

LaChaun earned a B.A. in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a concentration in global economics, trade and development. She later earned an MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler and an MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. LaChaun has a certificate in Management, Leadership, and Decision Sciences from Harvard Kennedy School. In addition, LaChaun studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, studying Asian business and management, and Chinese government and politics.