Ms. Lakesha McDay joined UNC Asheville staff in the role of Executive Director of Governmental & Community Relations July 7, 2021.
Lakesha is a UNC Asheville alumna, Class of 2008, and a deeply respected leader in western North Carolina. She has demonstrated 25 years of leadership in equity, diversity, and inclusion, strategic human resource management, and leadership development. Following her graduation from UNC Asheville she completed the Healthcare Innovation Management graduate certificate from Western Carolina University (WCU).
Prior to joining UNC Asheville, Lakesha served as the Equity Officer & Human Resource Manager at Dogwood Health Trust and worked for Mission Health for more than 20 years. Her areas of expertise include building trusted collaboration and partnerships with community members, government officials, education and executive leaders, and grass-roots organizations.
Lakesha has won numerous awards for her community service including the UNC Asheville Order of Pisgah Alumni Award in 2016 and the “I’ll Raise My Voice Award” from the United Way of Asheville & Buncombe County in 2020. She and holds certifications from the Society for Diversity and the Institute for Diversity and has chaired the Western North Carolina Diversity Engagement Coalition. She has also served on numerous boards including The United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, UNC Asheville Foundation, and the Trustees of Carolina Day School, and has served as a mentor for both the UNC Asheville Leader for Leaders program and the City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy.
In her role at UNC Asheville, Lakesha will serve in partnership with the Chancellor as the University’s principal liaison to elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels. She will create a comprehensive, proactive government relations strategy that will advance the university’s mission, goals, and strategic initiatives.