Members’ Corner: Deena Deese Kilmon
Name, Title, Organization:
Deena Deese Kilmon, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Easton Economic Development Corporation (Easton EDC)
Explain your background in economic development:
Small Business Owner, former Talbot Chamber of Commerce, St. Michaels Business Association, and Central MD Chamber Board member. I have always been involved in promoting and supporting small businesses and our community through my efforts in media sales, personal business, and serving on numerous boards and local community organizations.
What are your key priorities within your current position?
We are such a growing and dynamic community – it is my challenge to bring awareness to Easton, MD, as a full and inclusive community, capturing the depth and breadth of what makes it so special to residents and visitors.
Does one particular project spark your excitement? If so, describe it below.
I am excited to help our residents and business owners develop programs and events that engage and delight everyone, providing a true sense of community that is essential to strong economic growth while also enhancing the experience of living in and visiting Easton.
What professional pressures keep you up at night?
Being a tiny organization, our budget is always stretched! I try to find creative ways to partner with other organizations to make our dollars go farther!
What attributes are unique to your community?
Easton is just a wonderfully safe and beautiful community. We have retained a sense of belonging for everyone and truly are successfully incorporating new people into our world every day, embracing the new while keeping a sense of history when we help encourage people to come downtown, meet their neighbors, and be a part of the lifestyle! At the Easton EDC, we are also encouraged to see businesses rehabilitating historic properties for modern uses.
What are your locality’s top three “selling points” for future growth?
Safety, Beauty, and Outdoors! We also have excellent infrastructure in the city and a good comprehensive growth plan.
If you could wave a magic wand, what would you want to work with MEDA on to move Maryland forward?
Housing! I would love to magically have enough quickly for everyone who would like to live here and offer programs to encourage developers to consider smart growth as well as accessible units for buyers and renters at all levels of income.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with MEDA and your fellow members?
I’ve lived in Talbot County for almost three decades, and I am thrilled to watch its smart, careful growth. I am happy to say my work here at Easton EDC/Discover Easton will be a part of that continued success.
Please include any personal background information that you’d like to share (Alma mater, Military Service, hobbies, etc):
I am an avid water lover – the incredible opportunities to paddleboard, kayak, and boat here are amazing! I also married into a family that has been here for generations, and I am proud to say my children also live and work in the area, continuing a tradition of enjoying the tranquil Eastern Shore lifestyle. I am involved with many organizations that are working to make our community even more wonderful, including the Talbot Optimists, Easton Rotary, Phillips Wharf Environmental Center, Chesapeake Neighbors, and Shore Leadership.