The Greater Topeka Partnership announced today that Rhiannon Friedman has been named as the new President for Downtown Topeka, Inc (DTI). The search for the leadership position has been underway since former DTI president, Vince Frye, announced his retirement in early September 2020. Within her new position, Friedman hopes to bring about new businesses and attractions to Downtown Topeka. Friedman will officially assume her position as President of DTI on December 1, 2020. In the interim, she will be able to interact closely with Frye to ease the transition phase before fully assuming her mantle of responsibilities.
Friedman joined GO Topeka in January 2019, her eventual role being the Vice President of Business Development. She is a graduate of Kansas State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Prior to working for GO Topeka and the Greater Topeka Partnership, Friedman was the Director of Business Development and Sales for K Strategies Group in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area. Friedman brings experience creating partnerships with large firms, small and local business, and government agencies to develop and improve the communities she has been a part of.
“I am beyond excited for the opportunity to build upon the momentum that has taken place in downtown Topeka over the past several years. I look forward to continuing to build a space that attracts businesses, residents and visitors to enjoy all of what Topeka has to offer in the heart of our city,” said Friedman. “I am fortunate to build upon the foundation set by the leadership of previous president Vince Frye and the entire DTI Board.”
Leading up to this new hire, the Greater Topeka Partnership conducted an extensive search for the new DTI President; to ensure exposure to the best candidates, the Partnership broadened its lens to include regional, national and international leads and, ultimately, drew applicants from across the United States and Canada. Finalists went through a first interview process with the current acting President of DTI and the presidents of GO Topeka (Molly Howey), the Greater Topeka Chamber (Curtis Sneden) and Visit Topeka (Sean Dixon). The remaining candidates then went through a second interview with Lisa Stubbs, current DTI Board chair, Scott Gales, DTI Board chair-elect, Ken Scott, DTI Board treasurer/secretary, and Matt Pivarnik, CEO the Partnership.
Matt Pivarnik, CEO of the Greater Topeka Partnership related, “Filling a role like this, especially when following an executive like Vince Frye, is never easy. I am proud that our finalist came from within the Greater Topeka Partnership. Rhiannon’s exposure to downtown and river projects during her tenure in Dallas and her economic and redevelopment experience in Topeka makes her a perfect fit for this role.”
“I have been very impressed with Rhiannon’s contributions to GO Topeka as Vice President of Business Development,” said Frye. “I am confident that with her background in economic development she will be an outstanding leader for DTI. We have made great progress in revitalizing downtown but there is still much to accomplish. I look forward to downtown’s future under Rhiannon’s leadership.”
“Rhiannon is prepared to help Downtown Topeka move into its next phase of redevelopment, focusing on business recruitment and retention. I appreciate the creativity and energy that she brings to her leadership role. As the current chair of DTI, we look forward to working together to make Downtown Topeka the premier place to live, work and play,” said Lisa Stubbs, DTI Board chair and relationship/program manager with Security Benefit.
“With the challenges of the last year nearly behind us, 2021 is poised to bring substantial opportunity to Downtown Topeka and our community,” said Scott Gales, DTI Board chair-elect and president of Architect One, Inc. “Rhiannon brings an enterprising passion, and the economic development experience needed as the new President of DTI, to continue the success and dramatic changes our community has enjoyed over the last years. We are all looking forward to working closely with Rhiannon to leverage the results of the last 10 years with her ingenuity and dynamic leadership for many more years of success for Downtown Topeka.”
“The President of Downtown Topeka, Inc. requires some very special qualities. At the forefront of these qualities are listening and the ability to form relationships. Rhiannon possesses both qualities, coupled with her enthusiasm and the love for our community, she will continue the momentum that has been evolving in downtown Topeka over the past ten years,” said Kenneth Scott, DTI Board treasurer/secretary and first vice president, Capitol Federal. “Rhiannon is the right leader going forward for Downtown Topeka, Inc.”
“Rhiannon brings great experience and energy to Downtown Topeka, Inc. Combining her passion and creativity with the momentum in downtown is sure to produce great things in the future. I am excited to collaborate with her on future projects in the heart of our community,” said Molly Howey, president of GO Topeka.
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Bob Ross at Bob.Ross@TopekaPartnership.com.
About Downtown Topeka, Inc.
Downtown Topeka, Inc. is a non-profit operating under the Greater Topeka Partnership. Its mission is to ensure that Topeka’s downtown is the center of a thriving regional economy through recruiting, retaining and engaging commercial, cultural and residential opportunities.
About Greater Topeka Partnership
The Greater Topeka Partnership is the leading economic development agency in the region. Entities within the Partnership include the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Visit Topeka, Downtown Topeka, Inc. and GO Topeka.