County Leadership Team

Dena R. Diorio, Mecklenburg County Manager

Dena Diorio has been a leader in public administration since 1988. After graduate school Dena started what would be a ten-year stint with the City of New York, eight of which were in the Mayor’s Office. Serving under three different Mayors, Dena started as a financial analyst in the Departments of Sanitation and General Services where she provided financial support to various operating divisions. In 1990, she was appointed a supervising analyst at the Mayor’s Office of Operations where she rose to the level of Deputy Director in only five years. In 1995, she was appointed the Director of City Legislative Affairs and served as the Mayor’s lobbyist to the City Council. In that role she is credited with facilitating the passage of over 100 local laws included in the Mayor’s legislative agenda.

In 1998, Dena was appointed the inaugural Director of the Office of Policy and Management for the City of Stamford, Connecticut. She established a strong budget and auditing department that improved efficiency and accountability.

In 2002, Dena moved to the City of Danbury, Connecticut where she served as the Director of Finance and Human Resources. Dena joined Mecklenburg County, North Carolina in 2007 as Director of the Department of Financial Services. She is recognized for guiding the County through the fiscal crisis and implementing policies that significantly improved the financial position of the County. In 2013, she was promoted to Assistant County Manager and in 2014 was selected as the first woman to serve as County Manager for Mecklenburg County.

In her role as County Manager, Dena serves on a variety of boards including Charlotte Center City Partners, the Charlotte Sports Foundation, the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, Blumenthal Performing Arts, and United Way of Central Carolinas.

Dena has been recognized for her leadership by many organizations. In 2015, she was named Public Policy Leader of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners, and in 2016, she received the Leadership in Action award by Career Mastered. In 2018 she was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women by the Mecklenburg Times, and in 2019 a Most Admired CEO by the Charlotte Business Journal. In 2020, Dena was chosen as the Businesswoman of the Year by Queens University, the first woman from the public sector to receive the honor. In 2021, she was awarded the Excellence in Leadership Award from the Centralina Regional Council, received a Woman in American History Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Pegasus Award from the Public Relations Society of America, which honors someone from outside the public relations profession for embracing the strategic use of communications. In 2022, Dena was recognized nationally for her COVID-19 leadership and was named County Executive of the Year in the annual LocalSmart Awards, which highlight people and projects in local government. In 2023, Dena was awarded the prestigious Whitney M. Young Jr. award by the Urban League of Central Carolinas for her thoughtful leadership that is vital to serving the black community.

Dena earned her bachelor’s degree in social services from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

Dena lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Headshot of County Manager Dena Diorio wearing a black and white blazer.