County Leadership Team

Dena R. Diorio, Mecklenburg County Manager

Dena R. Diorio has been a leader in public administration since 1988. After graduate school, Dena began a 10-year stint with the City of New York, eight of which were in the Mayor’s Office. 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. She successfully served under three different mayors. 

In 1998, Dena was appointed the inaugural director of the Office of Policy and Management for the City of Stamford, Conn. She established a strong budget and auditing department that improved efficiency and accountability. In 2002, Dena moved to the City of Danbury, Conn. where she served as the Director of Finance and Human Resources.  

Dena joined Mecklenburg County in 2007 as Director of the Department of Financial Services. She has been recognized for guiding the County through the fiscal crisis and implementing policies that significantly improved its financial position. In 2013, she was promoted to assistant County Manager and in 2014 was selected as the first woman to serve as County Manager.  

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.  

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.