Sylnovia Holt Rabb appointment seals Austin reputation as a bastion for #blackgirlmagic as she joins Stephanie Howard-Hayden (Assistant City Manager), Dr. Desmar Walkes (Director of Austin Public Health) and Adrienne Stirrup (Director of the Austin Health Authority) at the top of City of Austin leadership.
“I am very happy to announce Sylnovia Holt-Rabb as the City’s next Director of Economic Development. Her extensive experience in Economic Development matters will continue to be crucial to driving the department’s programs to ensure Austin area creative and business economies have economic opportunities and resources that enable them to thrive in our community,” said Assistant City Manager Rodney Gonzales.
Holt-Rabb has more than 20 years of experience in the public sector and has worked for the City of Austin for 21 years. She has served as the Acting Director of Economic Development since March 2020. During her tenure as Acting Director, the Economic Development Department launched 13 unique pandemic-related financial assistance programs distributing more than $50 million to aid individuals, non-profits, and small businesses. Prior to that role, she served as the Assistant Director of Economic Development. She previously served as the Finance Manager for the Economic Development and the Housing and Planning Department.
In her current role, Holt-Rabb directs the day-to-day operations of the Cultural Arts Division, Small Business Program, and Support Service. The Cultural Arts Division provides funding of more than $11 million to more than 600 cultural contractors; manages the City of Austin’s public art program Art in Public Places, as well as policy recommendations to the creative community. The Small Business Program provides resources, classes, events, and a loan program to the small business community in Austin. The Small Business Program also supports two incubators, one at Huston Tillotson University and one at Austin Community College Fashion Incubator.
“I’m honored to be appointed as the City’s next Economic Development Director and look forward to continuing in this leadership role to assist local businesses with the resources they need to be successful enterprises,” said Holt-Rabb.
Holt-Rabb’s expertise includes economic development, finance management, contract negotiations, public policy, small and minority business development programs. She holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Florida A & M University.