Sharon Hillstrom, President & CEO
Sharon Hillstrom is president and CEO of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation, the lead economic development organization serving the nine communities that make up the Bradenton Area in Manatee County. Ms. Hillstrom is responsible for developing and implementing economic development programs to recruit new high-impact businesses and to assist in the retention and growth of targeted existing businesses in the Bradenton Area. She leads a team of eight and coordinates the EDC’s relationships with a complex network of business leaders and partner organizations in the public and private sectors.
Since assuming the chief executive role in 2011, Ms. Hillstrom has overseen 60 corporate relocations and expansions that are projected to create more than 3,500 new jobs over the next five years. These businesses are investing over $400-million in facilities and equipment in their Bradenton Area locations.
Ms. Hillstrom serves on the executive committee of Career Source Suncoast, the executive committee of the Tampa Bay Partnership, the board of directors of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and the Advisory Commission for the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. She also participates in the Leadership Advisory Council for the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee, and is a volunteer mentor in Manatee County’s Take Stock in Children program.
Under Ms. Hillstrom’s leadership, the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. (EDC) in 2015 was named one of Florida’s best local economic development agencies by Southern Business & Development magazine, a respected journal covering economic development in the American South.
In addition, Goodwill Manasota named Ms. Hillstrom Goodwill Ambassador of the Year in 2015 for her leadership role in enhancing the region’s quality of life through economic development. Prior to joining the EDC, Ms. Hillstrom’s career focused in sales promotion and marketing in the retail, medical and service industries. She is a graduate of Arizona State University and Leadership Manatee.
Originally from the Chicago area, Ms. Hillstrom has lived in the Bradenton Area for more than 20 years. She is married and has two grown children.