SPARTANBURG, S.C. (courtesy wofford.edu) — Lauren Mattox Curry, Wofford Class of 1997, assumed her new role as chief of staff for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday, Jan. 15. Curry is the first woman in the state’s history to be appointed to that position on a permanent basis.
“Being a mom of two daughters and a mentor to younger women makes it extra special,” says Curry. “Male or female, this is an honor. But it’s nice to show everyone that it’s about the best person for the job. I give the governor a lot of credit for his commitment to that.”
Curry, a native of Chapin, South Carolina, was a government and business economics double major at Wofford College. She earned a master’s in public administration from the University of Georgia.
She began her career in 1999 as a management and communications analyst for the U.S. Department of Transportation. In 2002, Curry joined the office of former Gov. Sonny Perdue as a press aide.
Since then, she has held a variety of state government roles, including director of special projects for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, director of public and governmental affairs for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, chief of staff for the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency and deputy director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Agency.
Curry rejoined the governor’s office as director of government affairs and policy in 2020. She has served as chief operating officer and, most recently, as deputy chief of staff.
Kemp says he’s excited to have Curry in such a pivotal role.
“Through her career across multiple state agencies and in various roles in the Governor’s Office, she has always demonstrated a commitment to lead the people of Georgia and to excellence. We are proud to have her step into yet another leadership role and look forward to her guidance in the years ahead as she continues to make her family, her state and her alma mater proud.”
Curry attributes her success to many of her experiences at Wofford. Among those are a deep commitment to academic excellence, service and collaboration, as well as an ability to interact with people from culturally diverse backgrounds.
“You can have a lot of great policy ideas, but I have been most interested in getting things done,” she says. “That takes building relationships and coalitions and being willing to collaborate with people who think differently than you.”
As chief of staff, she will be responsible for managing 85 state agencies and more than 100,000 employees, making consequential decisions that affect millions of people. Curry says she plans to stick to a formula that has served her well during the past 25 years.
“It’s easy to get wrapped around the axle,” she says. “To distill the decision-making, we just need to do the next right thing with the information we have. You can’t foresee how everything is going to happen, but if you are trying to do the right thing and take it one step at a time, things generally work out as well as they can.”
Curry adds that she is “big on progress” and doesn’t let uncertainty immobilize her.
“Every day, you should go to work and, even if you don’t solve the problem, work on a piece of the problem,” she says. “That is going to help you accomplish more than being paralyzed (will). You don’t have to have it all figured out. You just figure out the next right thing and you do that.”
Curry is married to Eugene Lowry Curry Jr. ’94, whom she met during the first week of her first year at Wofford in the lobby of Walter K. Greene Hall. They live in Marietta, Georgia, and have two daughters: Elizabeth, a sophomore and member of the beach volleyball team at the College of Charleston, and Emily, who is just beginning her college search. Curry confirms that Wofford is on Emily’s list.