Commerce adds leaders for small business support and creative economy sector development

Linda Womack to lead small business and community support; Shannon Halberstadt appointed to creative economy industry sector post

OLYMPIA, WA — Washington State Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown recently announced two new appointments to key leadership roles in the growing agency’s Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness. In a new industry sector lead position, Shannon Halberstadt came on board June 1 as Director of Creative Economy sector development. Expanding and deepening Commerce’s team serving Washington’s small businesses, Linda Womack also joined Commerce June 1 as Managing Director of Small Business and Community Support.

Headshot photoof Shannon Halberstadt

Shannon Halberstadt

As the first Creative Economy Sector Lead, Shannon Halberstadt will cultivate partnerships and policy to grow creative businesses and jobs in Washington.

Most recently Halberstadt was the Campaign Manager for Keep Music Live, engaging over 4200 donors to provide Covid-19 emergency relief funding to small, independent, live music businesses statewide. Prior to that, she was the CEO of Artist Trust, where she led efforts to help Washington’s working artists of all disciplines building thriving careers, offering grant awards and professional development resources. Her experience also includes roles as Executive Director of Spokane Arts, Pacific Northwest Executive Director at The Recording Academy (GRAMMY’s), and Director at The Vera Project.

“Washington state’s creative economy is among the strongest in our nation. I’m honored to join the talented team at Commerce, and look forward to working closely with creative sector industry leaders to support and grow this important sector that brings so much richness, vitality and sense of place to communities all over the state,” Halberstadt said.

Headshot photo of Linda Womack

Linda Womack

Linda Lee Womack served as the Director of the (MBDA) Minority Business Development Agency – Washington Business Center operated by the City of Tacoma’s Community and Economic Development Department, under a cooperative agreement with U.S.  Department of Commerce.  Since 2016, she has been responsible for targeting minority-owned enterprises with technical and strategic business consulting to increase their capacity to create and retain jobs.  Under Womack’s leadership, minority-owned businesses in the region secured over $290 million in contracting and financing opportunities. The Washington Business Center was recognized by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo as operating one of the best performing business center in the country serving under-resourced business communities.

Prior to her role as the business center director, Linda operated a boutique Korean interpretation/translation firm specializing in cultural brokering, business contracts, and medical interpretations.  Prior to opening her firm in 2015, Womack spent 12 years in Asia working as a go-to-market and global marketing strategist with Samsung, AIG International, and the Korean Tourism Organization’s international convention team to increase their presence and to attract foreign direct investments globally.

Womack received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington and holds an MBA from the Helsinki School of Economics (Aalto University School of Business).

“Commerce is results driven and I have always admired the agency’s work in how they engage and support businesses in all sectors to grow and remain competitive,” Womack said. “The team is smart and accomplished, and I am elated to join them; this is a dream role and I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues in the Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness and across the organization to serve our small business communities in every region of the state.”

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