After more than five years with Innovate Springfield, Sarah Beth Ayers has stepped down from her role as acting director.

Ayers joined Innovate Springfield in March 2017 as the community manager, later serving in other roles before becoming the acting director in April 2021 after Katie Davison’s departure. Now, she has accepted a position with the customer engagement team for GroupSense, a cyber-reconnaissance company.

“The company combines automated and human analysis to mitigate risk and prevent big data breaches,” said Ayers. “There are teams of analysts who provide the relevant information so organizations can prepare and respond.”

While GroupSense is based in Virginia, employees are located worldwide, and Ayers said she will be working remotely from her home in Springfield. She begins her new job Sept. 1.

“I’m excited to continue to create value and service small businesses,” she said.

As far as filling her role with Innovate Springfield, Ayers said she expected the position to be posted soon to hire her replacement. In July, University of Illinois announced plans to purchase the Illinois Sheriffs Association building at 401 E. Washington St. in downtown Springfield. Following renovations, the building will be used as the UIS Innovation Center, a hub for technology, business policy and workforce development that will also house Innovate Springfield, along with providing space for other groups.

“I love the university; I’m a proud (UIS) alumni,” Ayers said. “I’m really excited to see this next chapter.”