By Natalie Simms
With a billion-dollar-plus weekend for two of the multistate lotteries’ jackpots, the Georgia Lottery’s President/CEO, Rome resident Gretchen Corbin, didn’t get to ease into her new position. But the driven professional who works as hard both in and out of the office probably likes it that way.
“I’m incredibly blessed to be just one of the many who serve in Georgia,” says Corbin. “And now I have the opportunity to lead this incredible team that just last year returned $1.1 billion to education…that’s our goal…to maximize revenues for HOPE and Pre-K in Georgia by keeping sales up and revenues up so that Georgia students have access to these programs that have been around since 1993.”
The Georgia Lottery has raised more than $19 billion for education since inception with more than 1.8 million student receiving HOPE scholarships and grants and more than 1.6 million 4-year-olds attending lottery-funded Pre-K, says Corbin.
“There is always room to improve. We have an incredible team here at the Georgia Lottery Corp. and sales are good, but it’s my job to keep this team encouraged and going in the right direction,” she says.
Corbin, who grew up in Cedartown, began her career with the Georgia Department of Economic Development as an intern in college and officially joined the staff in 1998. But it was her work for the Rome-Floyd County Olympic Commission in 1996 that made her “fall in love with Rome,” where she’s been a resident for the past 24 years.
She holds a management degree from Clemson University and graduated from the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute.
Her career has skyrocketed since her time with the Olympics, having served as vice president of Economic Development at the Cartersville-Bartow Chamber and then back to Rome as the Regional Project Manager for Northwest Georgia (part of the economic development). She spent 15 years with the agency, building an impressive resume of statewide roles.
As Division Director for International Operations, she oversaw Georgia’s International Trade Division, International Offices, Protocol Office and the department’s Global Georgia marketing initiative. Later named the Deputy Commissioner of Global Commerce, she led the Global Commerce team to success in locating and expanding companies throughout the state, growing Georgia’s exports and supporting its small businesses.
Corbin oversaw 11 international offices and has marketed Georgia’s workforce, logistics and other business assets around the world. Under her leadership as deputy commissioner for Global Commerce, GDEcD brought nearly 69,000 jobs and over $13 billion in capital investment to Georgia.
Gov. Nathan Deal later appointed Corbin commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs where she was responsible for 65 programs in community infrastructure and development, workforce housing, downtown development and economic development financing. But most recently, Corbin served as the Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia overseeing the 22 technical colleges in the state, including Georgia Northwestern and Chattahoochee Tech.
“I have been able to build upon each position and bring that experience to new roles,” she says. “I had the blessing of working with all the technical colleges in Georgia and the 133,000 students accessing the HOPE scholarship, as well as the Pre-K students from around the state. I am able to take these students’ stories with me…I saw the financial needs and it helps me bring a better understanding of these students to the table. We do keep our eyes on sales and revenues, but more importantly on the students.”
With all her jet-setting around the state and globe in her career, Corbin has made her home in Rome with husband David and their two daughters, ages 16 and 13. She says “balance” is the key to making it all work.
“Just as I have a great team at work, I also have a great team at home,” she says. “I have an incredible team that includes my parents, my husband’s parents and neighbors that all support us and our children…I’m very thankful.”
With her daughters now in 10th and eighth grades, her focus is on their future, even more so now that her role oversees the funding for the HOPE scholarship program.
“My husband and I are very proud of their studies and we want to them and their friends have the opportunity to go to college. We hope they will see the HOPE scholarship but they know they have to study hard to earn the scholarship,” adds Corbin.