Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) Secretary Yvonne Hao today announced the appointment of new undersecretaries and the realigning of the office under new pillars to better focus on key sectors of the economy and ensure continued economic support for all Massachusetts communities and residents.
With today’s announcement, EOHED will now be structured under three pillars of economic development: Economic Foundations, focused on regional, rural, and small business growth, as well as infrastructure, seaport, and military installation support; Economic Strategies, focused on tourism and international trade, new federal opportunities in areas such as life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and clean energy, and the cross-secretariat Workforce Skills Cabinet; and Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, which will be more fully integrated into the office’s overall economic development strategy.
“My team at EOHED works every day to ensure that all people in Massachusetts get the chance to have a great career, that all businesses have resources to grow and compete, and that all our communities get the support they need to thrive,” said Secretary of Economic Development Yvonne Hao. “I am excited to announce these additions and promotions within our office and thrilled so many of the leadership team members have decided to stay on at EOHED. Our leadership team is excited to work on behalf of the state to build a healthy economy that benefits everyone.”
Ashley Stolba, who has served as EOHED Undersecretary of Community Development since 2021, will stay on in the office as Undersecretary of Economic Foundations. She will expand her portfolio to foster foundational economic opportunities for residents, communities, and businesses across Massachusetts. Stolba will continue to lead the community development team by managing the Community One Stop for Growth, serving as vice-chair of the Seaport Economic Council, overseeing work to close the digital divide, and maintaining the state’s military installations. In addition to these duties, Stolba will now oversee other key foundational areas such as regional businesses assisted by the Massachusetts Office of Business Development; small, micro, and immigrant-led businesses; and the new Director of Rural Affairs. She will also now serve as the secretariat’s climate officer focused on climate infrastructure needs.
Stolba will work closely with others across the Healey-Driscoll Administration on these areas of focus, as well as with quasi-government agencies such as MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. Prior to joining EOHED, Stolba was Chief of Staff at the Harvard Allston Land Company and held roles as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel at the Massachusetts Port Authority, Associate Counsel at the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, and Policy Analyst in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. A native of Mashpee, she received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Miami and her juris doctor from Suffolk University Law School.
Sarah Stanton has joined the office as Undersecretary of Economic Strategies and will oversee new growth initiatives that build upon the work of the Economic Development Foundations team. Stanton will be responsible for the state’s tourism and international trade sectors through the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism and the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment. She will also lead the office’s efforts on the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s cross-secretariat Workforce Skills Cabinet and help coordinate federal opportunities like CHIPS and Science Act funding, ARPA-H, and climate-tech investment. She will work closely with quasi-government partners Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and MassVentures. Stanton most recently served as Town Manager in Bedford, Massachusetts, and previously held several key roles in local government, including serving as Budget Director for the City of Cambridge, Finance Director/City Auditor for the City of Salem, and other municipal leadership roles in the Town of Ipswich, City of Woburn, and City of Haverhill. She is an adjunct professor of city planning, political science, and public administration graduate programs at Boston University, Merrimack College, and Northeastern University. Stanton holds an undergraduate degree in political science from Plymouth State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Northeastern University.
Layla D’Emilia has been promoted to Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, which aims to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education and ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. As Undersecretary, she will oversee five regulatory agencies: the divisions of banks, insurance, occupational licensure, telecommunications and cable, and standards. D’Emilia previously served as Commissioner of the Division of Occupational Licensure within EOHED for the last three years, where she oversaw 265 full-time staff and a budget of $26 million. Prior to joining EOHED, D’Emilia served as a senior member of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, where she coordinated and deployed operational responses and guidance around natural disasters, major weather and infrastructure events, and other significant public safety and homeland security issues. D’Emilia was also Vice President of Violence Intervention and Prevention Programs at Health Imperatives Inc., held positions focused on domestic and sexual violence prevention and response with Jane Doe Inc., and served on the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Commissioner’s Task Force on Campus Safety and Violence Prevention. She is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College and Suffolk University Law School.
In addition to Undersecretaries Stolba, Stanton, and D’Emilia, Secretary Hao’s leadership team will consist of three additional functional leaders: Chief of Staff Emily MacCormack, General Counsel Jon Cosco, and Policy Director Rory O’Hanlon.
On March 1, Governor Healey filed Article 87 legislation to create a new Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities headed by a cabinet-level secretary that will be charged with expanding the work now done by the Department of Housing and Community Development. The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development will be renamed the Executive Office of Economic Development, and today’s announcement of realigned focus around three pillars of economic development will better position the office to fulfill its mission of promoting business growth, opportunity, and economic vitality for Massachusetts’ communities and residents. The Article 87 reorganization plan is currently under review by the Legislature.