During Women’s History Month, we honor and celebrate the incredible women who have shaped our world, both in the past and present. This March, NTCIC is delighted to showcase our very own female leaders who are making a profound and lasting impact in the fields of historic preservation and sustainability.
We’re excited to introduce you to Laura Burns, who has been a valuable member of the NTCIC team since 2017. As our Community Impact Compliance Manager, Laura expertly manages the New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) program and compliance, including data collection and analytics for NTCIC’s diverse project portfolio. Since 2018, Laura has played a pivotal role in deploying $143MM in NMTC allocation, and her exceptional work in application processes contributed to NTCIC securing $100MM in NMTC allocation.
Before joining NTCIC, Laura gained a decade of experience in the banking industry. Her interest in the New Markets Tax Credit and Historic Tax Credit programs sparked while pursuing her Master of Real Estate Development degree at the University of Maryland. Laura also holds a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Virginia Tech.
Join us as we get to know Laura better, delving into her perspectives on her work, personal life, and passions.
Susan Doyle: What famous women have been inspiring you?
Laura Burns: Belva Lockwood is someone I just learned about, and her story is inspirational. It’s hard to believe I’d never heard of her. She was the first woman admitted to practice law in the U.S. in the 1800s, even before women had the right to vote. She also was the first woman (qualified by age) to run for President. She did so much for women’s rights and suffrage. She was the first woman to argue before the Supreme Court, and she also worked to admit the first black lawyer to the Supreme Court. She’s not a household name, but she should be. Google her!
Susan: What can we do to amplify the voices of women of color?
Laura: Listen. Just be quiet and listen to what they are saying.
Susan: What is the single most important aspect in your role that ties directly with the mission of NTCIC?
Laura: The most important aspect in my role is reviewing a potential NMTC project’s community outcomes and then working with project and community stakeholders to achieve those goals. With historic preservation at the center of our mission, NTCIC has the opportunity to invest in different asset classes, which achieve a variety of outcomes. So it’s important to understand what the existing community needs and wants.
Right now, I am most excited about our West Side Bazaar project. It’s the expansion of an existing business incubator focused on helping individuals in the immigrant community start their own businesses and build wealth. But just because an entrepreneur knows how to make amazing food or sell unique goods doesn’t mean they can successfully run a business without assistance. West Side Bazaar’s experienced operator provides these entrepreneurs with the education and business skills needed to start, expand and grow their businesses in an environment with other entrepreneurs. West Side Bazaar will not only provide more entrepreneurs with space but will also have affordable community space for families to rent for special occasions and celebrations.
Susan: What makes NTCIC a unique place to work?
Laura: I would say having a leadership team primarily composed of women is unique in any financial service industry. But what makes NTCIC unique is the collaborative and supportive culture that our leadership team creates. I feel lucky to be surrounded by strong women with such different leadership styles.
Susan: Where do you want to see us next year?
Laura: Deploying our Round 19 NMTC allocation award! Fingers crossed!
Susan: How do you achieve work/life balance? What do you like to do outside of work?
Laura: I don’t know how you achieve work/life balance. It’s a constant challenge. I have recently found two new hobbies that are bringing me a lot of joy – beekeeping and dog sports. It’s so fascinating to learn about honeybees. It’s more than just free honey! This year, I am expanding the number of hives that I have and hope to one day make a small business out of this hobby. I also love training in agility and obedience with my rescue dog, Frankie. It brings me so much joy and offers great interaction with her.
My wife and I also take her to FastCAT events, which is basically a 100-yard dash for dogs. What’s cool about these events is you get to find out how fast your dog can run. Frankie averages 27mph, which I think is pretty fast, not to brag or anything. Seeing how excited she gets doing different equipment during agility class or waiting to run her 100-yard dash keeps me motivated.
Susan: What are you reading right now?
Laura: Honeybee Democracy and Honeybee Biology and Beekeeping. I can’t say enough about how fascinating bees are!
Susan: What is your favorite movie?
Laura: I am not a big movie buff, but I have seen Fried Green Tomatoes so many times, which is funny because it involves beekeeping and opening a café…life goals!
Take part in our Main Street Community Survey
The Main Street Community Survey is an opportunity for us better to understand the needs of communities across the United States and to help us make informed investment decisions that align with our preservation-based community development mission. The data collected through this survey will be used to help advise our geographic and programmatic focus for our future tax credit investments.
The survey will be open from March 20, 2023, to April 30, 2023 and should take no more than 5 minutes to complete. Entries are automatically entered to win a $100 gift card.