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Staff Spotlight: Debra Wise, Senior Business Manager

December 12, 2019 | Staff Spotlight: Debra Wise, Senior Business Manager |

Deb_Spotlight.jpgAs the longest-serving staff member at the National Main Street Center, Deb knows Main Street from the inside out. She joined the team during the Center’s Urban Demonstration Project in 1986 and has decades of experience and expertise in the management of the Center’s financial operations. Read on to learn more about Deb’s memories over her 34-year career at the Center and what Main Street means to her.

What is your day-to-day like at NMSC?
I’m usually reviewing contracts and budgets, creating spreadsheets, processing payables, generating invoices, and chatting with John, NMSC’s VP of Finance and Administration.

What has been your most memorable moment at NMSC?
My most memorable moment was that after two months on the job I got to meet all the of the early road warriors all at once. (Road warriors were staff members who traveled across the country providing services to Main Street communities.) Witnessing all that excitement and energy confirmed for me that Main Street was the place to be.

Which Main Street community is personally significant to you?
My hometown of Beaufort, South Carolina.

What have you enjoyed most about working at NMSC over the years?
After 34 years here, I’ve really enjoyed the lasting relationships.

You filled out your #WeAreMainStreet postcard with, “Main Street is TEAMwork.” Why?
I see Main Street’s work as endless waves of transformation. Its success all depends on the teamwork.

What’s been most surprising about how NMSC has changed since you came on staff?
I’ve been amazed by the continued growth and success of our national conference, Main Street Now. Last year, we had our largest conference yet with over 1800 attendees.

What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
I love reading, listening to classical, blues, and jazz music, discovering new artists, and watching as many professional sporting events as possible.

Where are you from and where do you live now?
I was born and grew up in Beaufort, South Carolina, my desk is at the Watergate Building in Washington, DC, and I sleep in Columbia, Maryland, a suburb of DC/Baltimore.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Being a quiet sort of person, people would be surprised to know that as a kid my southern nickname was “mouth” (lovingly pronounced “mout”).