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Power Women: Abby Liu Is Rising Fast, Just Like The City Of McKinney

As executive vice president of the McKinney Economic Development Corp., Abby Liu is at the forefront of shaping one of Dallas-Fort Worth's fastest-growing suburbs

McKinney, like its neighboring cities in Collin County, is consistently growing not only in size, but in its capacity to attract marquee corporations and keep them there.

Longtime tenant Raytheon recently announced a significant expansion in the city, and McKinney continues to promote itself as a potential future tech hub in Collin County. 

Liu is one of the steady hands behind the scenes trying to make it all happen. 

Abby Liu (far right) promoting McKinney with MEDC

Bisnow: What did you dream of becoming as a child? How does your current career feed that inner child inside of you?

Liu: I grew up in Taiwan and ever since I was little, I wanted to see the world; you could say I was destined for a bigger playground. I knew I wanted to make a difference and I feel like I have accomplished that over my 20-plus years in economic development. 

In my current career with McKinney Economic Development Corp., I have been able to expand my horizons, both internationally and domestically. It has been satisfying to contribute my talents to make positive changes for people and businesses in McKinney and across the globe.

Bisnow: If you could teach women growing in the industry today just one thing, what would it be? 

Liu: Knowledge. In my opinion, if you want to be successful in any industry you need knowledge and solid knowledge. I believe that education provides the necessary foundation for you to be able to acquire more knowledge, skills and values in the future. In any industry, we all face competition and challenges, [and] knowledge can help you to elevate to the next level and shape future opportunities. I believe my education, experience and eagerness to continue to learn has made me into the female leader I am today. 

Bisnow: Who inspires you on a daily basis and why?

Liu: There isn’t just one person who inspires me, rather I am inspired by all the people I meet throughout my life. I see the strengths of different people and enjoy working with people that I admire. I get inspiration through a composite of different pieces of people and I think it’s important to have many positive influences in your life both personally and professionally.

Abby Liu (far left) with McKinney Economic Development Corp.

Bisnow: What is your biggest career failure and what positive lessons did it teach you? 

Liu: Failure is something that most people are afraid of. But the truth is: Everyone has failed (at least once) and will (unfortunately) fail again. The thing that makes you successful is what you do after a failure. 

For example, in my career I was in the final stages of bringing a Fortune 500 company to the area and really thought I had won it; unfortunately, in the end we lost the project to a competing city. I asked the company for their reasoning and was able to take back that information to the team. I can now say that we have taken strides to ensure that that reason will not be an issue in McKinney again. 

Bisnow: Describe your greatest career accomplishment. 

Liu: Over my 20-plus years in economic development, I am proud to say that I have brought jobs to the area, increased city revenues, changed lives and helped businesses with their expansion plans. As I look back at my portfolio of deals won while at McKinney Economic Development Corp., I find that my portfolio has a great mix of both domestic and international opportunities. I have won deals involving Fortune 500 companies, including Raytheon and PACCAR. I enjoy being able to handle all deals that come my way whether domestic or abroad. 

I love what I do and that alone is my greatest accomplishment.