he South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership named Bethany Hartley its new President and Chief Executive Officer, the second in the organization’s history. Hartley succeeds founder Regina Emberton, who stepped down in February.

Hartley assumes the role effective Monday, May 23rd. She currently holds the title of Chief Strategic Officer (CSO) at the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership (Regional Partnership), a position she has held since 2020, and has been acting as interim CEO since Emberton’s exit. As CSO, she was responsible for translating strategies across functions and driving organizational change, supporting new working relationships and synergies across the organization, and establishing greater transparency and accountability. She led the organization in a period of unprecedented team growth earlier this year. Hartley joined the Regional Partnership as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion in 2018.

“Bethany’s passion for the region, its people and its continued growth is unmatched,” said Pete McCown, chair of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership’s Board of Directors. “In her time with the organization, her impact has been felt across all the organization’s primary areas of focus: entrepreneurship, industry growth, education and workforce, talent attraction and retention, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She played a key role in winning the READI grant funds from the state and continued to grow as a leader not only for the organization, but the region and beyond. We expect her vision to carry the Regional Partnership into a new era.” 

The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership worked with executive search consultants Waverly Partners for an exhaustive nationwide CEO search. A search committee, made up of members of the Regional Partnership board and key regional stakeholders, made the final decision. 

“It is with great enthusiasm and humility that I begin serving as the next President and CEO of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership,” Hartley said. “We have a solid foundation, fostered by our team at the Regional Partnership, our dedicated board and committee members, and our partners across 47 smart, connected communities. I look forward to continuing to build on the momentum we have been developing for the past decade to create a region that is vibrant, innovative, and known across the country as a hub for startups, companies fueled by advanced technologies, and opportunity for all.” 

Hartley has over a decade of experience in non-profit leadership, primarily focused on economic development and entrepreneurship. Prior to joining the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, Hartley held leadership positions with RISE | Regional Innovation and Startup Education, Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County, Family and Children’s Center, and the Women’s Business Development Center.

Hartley holds a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago and certificates from the University of Notre Dame’s Master of Non-Profit Administration, Babson College, and Catalyst Inc. Hartley is also active in a wide range of community activities, including serving as a board member of Startup Moxie Elkhart County, a steering committee member of the Engaging Women Conference, a committee member for Beacon Health Systems, and a champion and fundraiser for Girls on the Run of Northern Indiana.

About South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership is a collaboration of the economic development partners from 47 smart connected communities in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan. The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership focuses on a long-term systemic approach to advance the region’s economy by aligning the efforts of various stakeholders around five key areas: educating a world-class workforce, recruiting and retaining great talent, attracting and growing new economy companies in complement to our remarkably strong manufacturing industries, promoting inclusion and sparking opportunities for minorities and helping entrepreneurs thrive. The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership seeks to unify and collaborate so that together, the communities across the region to work together to achieve what cannot be done individually. For more information about the Regional Partnership, visit SouthBendElkhart.org.