RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – The Council for Entrepreneurial Development named Kelly Rowell as its president and CEO on Thursday.

Rowell served in the interim role for the entrepreneurial support organization for the last 13 months, and previously joined CED to focus on customer experience.

“Our ecosystem is thriving. Now is the time to focus on how it can evolve holistically to support regional growth,” said Rowell in a statement. “I am excited to take on this role and plan to leverage the knowledge and expertise of the region’s most successful founders to build a resource for entrepreneurs that enables more success stories in the region.”

Rowell’s background includes leadership roles in nonprofits with a civic and social mission, as well as positions focused on improving organizational capacity.

She also led CED through what the organization called “a challenging year for nonprofits amidst a global pandemic,” including leading the execution of the organization’s Venture Connect Summit, which was held virtually in March.

“In many ways, CED including its supporters, investors and entrepreneurs can take a victory lap for their efforts over the past 40 years,” said Rowell.  “Efforts that have taken a lead role in creating the vibrant ecosystem our region has today.”