Community and Business Leader Naomi Riley

Naomi RileyWhen I look back on the different careers in my life there is a direct correlation with each one of them.  Each one allowed me to explore causes/opportunities I was passionate about at “that stage” in my life. Making a small difference in my world is a driving force for each career path I have taken.

Fast forward to my career today!  I have the JOY of promoting the community where I grew up.   When you live in a community like Fuquay-Varina, NC it is hard NOT to love it.   I am the Executive Director of Fuquay-Varina Downtown, a non profit who’s sole purpose is to promote and protect the historic commercial and residential districts of Fuquay-Varina.   Our organization is part of the NC Main Street Program developed by the National Trust of Historic Preservation.

My job is complex and is one where you wear many hats.  My role as mom of two sons, who are now grown, allowed me to learn the ultimate skill of PROJECT manager!    The opportunities for our downtown are endless, the ideas never stop flowing …. you then run into this tiny issue of “time”.

Naomi RileyFinding the balance between ideas and time will always be something I’ll face but as I have aged I have learned the valuable lesson of somethings can wait and somethings are just too early for their “right time”.   Learning which ideas to pick up and nurture will always be the constant challenge because there are so many GREAT ideas!   One of my strategies is to place ideas on a “bucket list” for downtown.  That way I don’t feel like I’m dropping the idea but yet saving it for it’s “right time”.

My biggest supporters during my life would have to be my father, Charles McLaurin. my husband Jim Riley and a multitude of women in the Fuquay-Varina community.  My mother passed away when I was eight years old, as a result I had the blessing of  gaining ALOT of “2nd moms”.   They are all part of who I am today.  THEY were willing to reach out to me and my sisters so I’m certain that has a direct correlation of me wanting to help others in all that I do today.

Naomi RileyAs for the men in my life?  They both understand the value that women place in our society and have nurtured me to always follow my passion.   My dad was a civic leader so I learned from the best and my dear husband Jim is my constant supporter and partner as we do this thing called “downtown” together.

I’m the proud mother of two great sons, Garrett Riley a recent graduate of UNCW in marketing, who will be marrying Jordan Lipsomb in December and Bryce Riley a rising Junior at NC State’s College of Engineering.  They too understand for “mom”, if she’s not working on a passion then she’s just not breathing!

Fuquay-Varina Downtown

NC Main Street Program

National Trust of Historic Preservation


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