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Oxford resident named director of Heritage alliance

Mary Cates Williams of Oxford is the new executive director of the Mississippi Hills Heritage Area Alliance, which is the coordinating organization for the 30-county Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area.

Williams worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant to the Chief of Staff and then as a Legislative Aide and Office Manager for Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran between 2003-2007. From 2008-2014 she served as executive vice president for government affairs and business development for the Golden Triangle Development LINK, which is headquartered in Columbus.

Most recently she has been working as a consultant with economic development and private-sector businesses regarding grants, including a Joint Land Use Study grant through the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment.

“I am so excited about this opportunity and I feel that there is so much potential in fully developing and then presenting our Mississippi Hills stories to the huge market of cultural and heritage travelers which exists in the United States and internationally,” Williams said.

Williams, a Tippah County native, started work Tuesday and graduated from The University of Mississippi. She is married and lives with her husband Robert and their two children, Rob and Dot, in Oxford.