YORK, PA – Its capacity bolstered by a strategic affiliation with the York County Economic Alliance, Downtown Inc on Wednesday proudly announced that it has hired Elaine Bonneau as its new Director, bringing aboard a dynamic community connector who will serve as the organization’s primary resource for downtown businesses.
With over 20 years of experience in marketing and business development, Bonneau has tackled large projects, such as leading the growth of OneMain Financial’s community engagement program for 800 locations nationwide. And she helped small businesses navigate everyday challenges, like rebranding a restaurant down to the smallest detail of the menu design.
Bonneau will lead the daily operations of the five-person Downtown Inc team, reporting to Silas Chamberlin, Vice President of Economic & Community Development at the York County Economic Alliance. Chamberlin previously served as CEO of Downtown Inc and will retain high-level strategic oversight over the organization.
Bonneau comes to Downtown Inc four months after the organization joined the York County Economic Alliance as part of a strategic affiliation. The move has closely aligned the work of the two economic development organizations, fostered a spirit of cooperation and – in the case of Bonneau’s hiring – allowed Downtown Inc to build its capacity to serve Downtown York businesses, visitors and residents.
“We were impressed by Elaine’s proven ability to connect with everyone from small mom-and-pop businesses to large corporations and are excited to bring her into the downtown community,” Chamberlin said. “Following the affiliation, Elaine’s arrival marks another moment of growth for Downtown Inc and an opportunity for us to expand the services we offer. She will quickly become the go-to contact for downtown business owners and a recognizable face around the city.”
Bonneau also successfully launched Expresión Magazine, a bilingual magazine for the Hispanic community of greater Baltimore, and served as publisher and editor in chief from 2005-2007. She was Director of Media Services at Chess Communications Group from 2003-2005.
Starting with Downtown Inc on January 18, Bonneau said she is eager to connect with a downtown business community she praised as both passionate and resilient.
“We are stronger together. As a consultant and small business owner myself for several years, I know most small business owners don’t want to go it alone. They work hard to build their own business, but they also crave collaboration and connection with others like them,” Bonneau said. “This is where organizations like Downtown Inc and the York County Economic Alliance make a critical impact – championing the community, fostering dialogue and creating platforms for partnerships that leverage the unique assets of each business for the benefit of the collective. As I start this new journey leading Downtown Inc, there is a positive energy of change occurring in Downtown York, and I’m excited about what we can all accomplish working together.”
Bonneau has previously served on the board of directors for the American Red Cross of Central Maryland, the U.S. Hispanic Youth Entrepreneur Education and the Baltimore Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, among others. She was a 2010 recipient of the Susan G. Komen Maryland Founders Award and the 2009 American Red Cross of Central Maryland’s William J. Casey Award.
“Elaine’s experience allows her to approach challenges from multiple points of view. She understands high-level marketing and communications strategies, but can also relate to the nitty-gritty issues that face business owners each week,” said Mandy Arnold, President of the Downtown Inc Board of Directors and owner of two downtown businesses, Gavin and The Left Bank. “Elaine is a welcome addition to Downtown Inc, and we’re excited to see her elevate the organization’s already-strong body of work.”
Bonneau resides in New Freedom with her husband. She enjoys gardening and hiking Pennsylvania trails, and considers herself a novice but aspiring painter.
An affiliate of the York County Economic Alliance, Downtown Inc is THE organization working to drive, enhance and encourage investment in York’s central business district through economic development, promotions, placemaking and public safety. Downtown Inc is the trade name for a joint venture between the York Business Improvement District Authority and Main Street York, a 501(c)(3) not for profit. Visit www.DowntownYorkPa.com for more information.
Marketing & Communications Director
Vice President, Economic and Community Development
York County Economic Alliance