/ Agency News

Holly Lesko was recently promoted to Program Director, Community Health at the Commission. This new role is another expansion of her evolving community health and well-being work here. Holly has been active in supporting the region and Commission since 1992 when she was hired as the inaugural Economic Development planner for the organization and was promoted to senior planner during her 7 year tenure until 1999 when she transitioned to part time consultant to give more time to raising young children at home. Holly continued to be involved in community development and planning through her work and civic service including on Blacksburg’s planning commission from 2001-2007 and was appointed as the Town of Blacksburg’s community representative to the Commission in 2005 and served as Chair of the Commission from 2007-2012. Holly went on to secured funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support work at the Commission within the context of the Livability Initiative in 2014. This funding offered the opportunity for Community Health (especially in the context of rural youth and underlying social determinants of health) as a focal point within that critical regional initiative. She again was hired by the Commission as an employee in the fall of 2020 to support the Business Continuity Team’s work with schools. Holly’s role grew and flexed as the needs of businesses, local governments and the health district’s needs and processes adapted to community and economic impacts from COVID. This new position will continue to support health and well-being across the region through expanded partnerships, resources seeking, and facilitated engagement and support. This work is focused on supporting community wellbeing with public and private entities across the region through education, health and wellness guidance, resource seeking and collaboration. In her first weeks in the new role, Holly led the development of a collaborative regional application to the Opioid Abatement Authority to support a recovery ecosystem approach to the opioid crisis in the New River Valley. The proposal involved all five of the regional jurisdictions as well as multiple regional organizations deeply rooted in the services and expertise to address this crisis.

Holly has worked with communities and organizations in the New River Valley region and across the Commonwealth for the past 30+ years and her focus in community development is on creating spaces and processes to enhance new ways of viewing and approaching issues and concepts through inclusive and diverse engagement.

For more information contact Holly Lesko, hlesko@nrvrc.org.