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Shirar O'Connor

Vice President of Marketing
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Shirar is the Vice President of Marketing of AdvanceCT, where she leads on all marketing and public relations initiatives for the organization.

Shirar has been in economic development, specializing in direct investment and foreign direct investment, for nearly 29 years. She has extensive experience developing government-to-business, economic development marketing and public relations strategies through her prior experience working for both government agencies and as a consultant. Her government agency experience includes the U.S. Marketing Director for UK Trade & Investment, which is now known as DIT, the UK Department of International Trade. She has also worked as the Public Relations Manager for the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency.

Shirar is a founding partner of Underpinned, an economic development marketing agency. Her consulting experience includes marketing and investment promotion service firms Conway Inc., Ruder Finn, and Spring-O'Brien. Each of these organizations specialize in investment promotion, working with cities, regions, states, and countries to attract corporate investment for job creation, a robust tax base, and economic prosperity for their jurisdictions.

Shirar has worked with hundreds of economic promotion organizations such as the Board of Investment of Thailand, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Louisiana Economic Development, the City of Birmingham (UK), Invest in Germany, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the German region of Bavaria, Invest in Canada, Scottish Development International, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, JETRO - Japan, Global Tampa Bay, KOTRA-Korea, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, and many other agencies responsible for economic development.  

She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, Gainesville. She serves on the International Economic Development Council’s International Committee, several community boards and she is a frequent contributor to publications such as Site Selection Magazine, FDI Alliance Magazine, and speaker on foreign direct investment and economic development marketing topics.