Kayla Graven, Downtown Springfield, Inc.’s assistant director and market manager, will succeed Lisa Clemmons Stott as executive director, starting July 1.

“Kayla has served DSI incredibly well both before and during the pandemic. She is well-versed in the goals and priorities of this organization and has demonstrated her ability to implement targeted programs that grow our downtown,” said Brian Wojcicki, president of the DSI Board.

Graven started with DSI in June 2018 after holding fundraising and program roles at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Illinois Capital Region and WSEC/PBS Springfield. Her portfolio at DSI includes managing the Old Capitol Farmers Market, supporting business members, and organizing activities such as the Old Capitol Holiday Walks. During her tenure, DSI grew the Old Capitol Farmers Market, both in number of vendors and number of shoppers utilizing SNAP benefits; introduced new programs like the Red Ticket Giveaway; and organized successful fundraising activities like the Fund-a-Need that raised $30,000 for DSI’s Momentum on Main Street program during DSI’s Annual Dinner in January 2020.

In 2015, Graven became the youngest person to be recognized as one of Springfield Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 and is now the youngest person to serve as DSI executive director in the organization’s 28-year history.

Supporting downtown has always been a passion of mine, and I am excited to continue the important work we are doing at DSI,” said Graven. “I’m especially grateful to Lisa for her guidance. DSI is strong today because of her tireless work throughout her tenure.”

Graven is a member of Illinois Women in Leadership, Junior League of Springfield, and Springfield Jaycees and graduated from the Greater Springfield Chamber’s Leadership Springfield program.

“I’ve always emphasized the need for Springfield’s next generation of leaders to embrace downtown and help lead its revitalization and demand the structural changes that we need. Kayla has worked side by side with me for three years and I’m excited to see how high she, and the organization, can fly, building from the solid foundation and strategic vision that we’ve built during my tenure,” said Lisa Clemmons Stott, outgoing executive director.