Skip to main content

Check out what local governments are doing to engage women in local government leadership.

“ElevateHer,” a Lesson from Transylvania County 
by Katie Fiely, UNC-MPA Student

While it is fashionable to talk about promoting women in local government organizations, it is quite another to design organizational initiatives to do so. That is exactly what Jaime Laughter, manager of Transyvlania County, has done through the creation of ElevateHer.

Laughter established ElevateHer in 2017 to encourage and support women working in Transylvania County government. As an active participant in UNC’s Engaging Women in Public Service programming, Laughter had three objectives in mind: (1) to nurture women’s leadership potential in Transylvania County government, (2) to create a space for discussing the unique challenges of women in local government management, and (3) to undertake projects for improving Transylvania County. Laughter and her leadership team decided early on to be inclusive and open the program to both women and men working in managerial roles in Transylvania County.

ElevateHer members after an icebreaker session on public speaking.

ElevateHer participants meet monthly to share breakfast, talk projects and provide peer mentorship.

The group has undertaken two projects initially: developing a customer service philosophy for the county and creating short videos with the local school system to educate the public and young people (especially women) about local government. ElevateHer volunteers also attend local high school and college career fairs to promote local government as a career path, particularly for young women.

For more information about how to create your own version of ElevateHer, contact Jaime Laughter at