Mississippi Economic Development Council | 1675 Lakeland Drive, Suite 502 | Jackson, MS 39216 | 
PH. 601.352.1909 • FAX 855.443.2828




Mary Martha Henson
Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer

Mary Martha Henson became Executive Director of Mississippi Economic Development Council in 2013. Prior to MEDC, she was Executive Director of Mississippi Biotechnology Association (MS BIO), a 501(c) 6, which she led from inception and worked to develop a statewide strategy to foster and grow the bio / life science sector.  Mary Martha served over 7 years on the staff of former Congressman Chip Pickering in both Mississippi and Washington, D.C., where she gained public policy experience in healthcare, education, transportation and workforce issues. She also served as Congressman Pickering’s staffer for healthcare issues on the Energy and Commerce Committee. She has extensive experience in public and private funding having worked on numerous economic development, infrastructure, healthcare facilities and education projects throughout the state.

Mary Martha, a West Point, MS native and graduate of Mississippi State University, participated in Leadership Mississippi, the State Executive Development Institute and the New South Economic Development course. She attended Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. She participated in the Education Policy Fellowship Program through the Institute for Educational Leadership. In 2012, she was selected to participate in the Emerging Leaders in Public Service program at Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service.

Mary Martha was named “Top 40 under 40” by the Mississippi Business Journal in 2012. She has broad international travel experience including studying abroad in Italy, and as a member of Rotary International Group Study Exchange to Brazil. Her love of travel extends to her personal life. Mary Martha also enjoys reading biographies and attending Mississippi State sporting events. She and her husband, Brian, reside in Brandon.


Gwen Howard
Manager, Member Services & Communications

Gwen Howard has been welcomed by MEDC to take the position of Manager, Member Services and Communications. Gwen was born and raised in Iuka, MS. She completed two degrees during her time at the University of Mississippi, Hospitality Management and Nutrition. She spent a semester abroad in Quepos, Costa Rica studying Spanish.  She moved to Jackson with her husband, Drew after her time at Ole Miss.  While completing her Master’s degree in Nutrition from Mississippi State University, Gwen worked as a wastewater chemist/nutritional analyst for Marshall Durbin and then a merchandising and assistant store manager for Buffalo Peak Outfitters.

Post graduation she knew she wanted to work at grassroots development, “I am excited to take my background in healthcare and nutrition to help support MS in its’ pursuit of a better quality of life”. She is eager to be active in the economic development of her community and home state.

Gwen and her husband recently have moved to Brandon, MS where they enjoy running, cycling, kayaking, and taking their dog swimming in the reservoir.

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