Alumni Spotlight


Alumni Spotlights



Lori Merricks, Class of 2015

Lori Merricks

Director of Marketing & Communications, Danville Regional Foundation
Danville, VA

What is new and exciting with you now or since your time with Lead Virginia?

At DRF, we have a new CEO and as a staff, we’re thinking about how we bring more people around the table to empower them to create meaningful change in our community. It’s an exciting time to think about how to include diverse voices and experiences in helping to create a community that benefits all.

How did Lead Virginia shape you as a leader?
To me, it reinforced that leaders come in all shapes and sizes. There are those that sit at the head of the table and help steer the ship and then there are those that help do the work and bring people together to expand the reach of change. Both are very important to the process and each are necessary. For me, I learned that I want to be “leaderful” in my work – focusing on leadership as a collective work and empowering those around me to see their ideas through.

Since Lead Virginia, how have you put your social capital to work?
Prior to Lead Virginia, I couldn’t have put into words exactly how I use social capital or even specifically what it was. But now I know that in all that I do, the only way that the work gets done is by finding common ground and shared values through the relationships I’ve built through Lead Virginia and throughout the commonwealth. What is that often-overused quote? “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” A simple truth that is based on social capital.

What was your biggest takeaway or lesson learned from Lead Virginia that continues to resonate with you today?
Growing up in Southern Virginia and then moving away for almost 20 years, I had much to relearn about my home. Lead Virginia introduced me to people who truly care about the communities they serve and helped me understand that while our zip codes may differ, the work and the challenges we are facing are very similar. Economic and social challenges aren’t limited by city and county boundaries.