The Louisville Independent Business Alliance has hired Johnetta Roberts to serve as Neighborhood Initiatives Manager for south and west Louisville, two areas of town where the organization has focused on adding new members for more than a year.
Jennifer Rubenstein, executive director of LIBA, said hiring Roberts would allow LIBA to have a greater impact in both communities.
“Johnetta has an amazing skill set and community connections that make her a perfect fit for this position,” Rubenstein said in a news release. “Having her on board will bring a new skill set that will open up new opportunities.”
LIBA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote locally owned businesses and to educate citizens on the value of buying closer to home.
The organization has focused on expanding into south Louisville since at least 2014, when it conducted a survey to see what kind of businesses the residents wanted in the area. Since then the organization has sponsored a South Louisville informational tour, created a South Points Buy Local Fair, added networking and partnered with area businesses for other events.
Rubenstein says Roberts will build on LIBA’s successful “Keep South Louisville Weird” campaign, as well as the organization’s targeted efforts to support current and aspiring local businesses in west Louisville, to lead grass roots campaigns and promote independent business growth.
Roberts, who will be working for LIBA in a part-time capacity, says she is looking forward to the opportunity.
“It is a privilege to join a proven organization that inspires a thriving local economy in our city,” Roberts said. “Considering the renewed focus and energy west of 9th Street and the resurgence in south Louisville, I look forward to helping business owners and budding entrepreneurs realize their fullest potential.”
Roberts is a Lexington native, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2003.
She served as vice president of community ventures for more than nine years. During that time, she helped to create the Women’s Business Center of Kentucky and Chef Space Kitchen Incubator, a multiuse facility in west Louisville that supports the growth of early-stage catering, retail, food truck and wholesale food business.
Roberts started The Forty & One Company in 2017, a consulting practice offering project-based community development, small business, and nonprofit capacity-building services.
She is also working with MOLO Village Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization founded by St. Peter’s United Church of Christ.
As a member of the development team, she is responsible for the preleasing of MVCDC’s The Village @ West Jefferson, a 32,000-square-foot mixed-use development that will be completed in summer 2019.