A ten-month sprint — my case for running for the open Charlotte City Council seat.
Below are the materials I submitted, along with my resume, to fill an open at-large seat on the Charlotte City Council.
1. State your interest in serving as the At-Large City Council Representative.
I’m interested in serving because I care about doing everything I can to ensure that all people in our community are connected to opportunity and that we all can thrive in our modern culture.
I’m ready to get to work, collaborating with fellow council members, to execute on an aggressive and important agenda that serves everyone.
Over the last 13 years, I’ve worked in communities all across Charlotte. From helping lead the area’s efforts in the 2008 Obama campaign, to serving as campaign manager for Anthony Foxx’s first mayoral run in 2009, I’ve developed strong relationships across this city.
Five years ago I was hired as Charlotte’s first digital inclusion project manager. I led an alliance of partners and community members in drafting the first digital inclusion playbook in North Carolina that set out on a pathway of bridging the digital divide. Since then I’ve continued leading efforts to help make Charlotte the most digitally equitable city in America. The pandemic has thrust this issue to the forefront, but for many communities, the “digital divide” has been an obstacle to success for years.
As part of that work, I’ve built and ran community-based workshops with over a thousand families from over 50 schools, dozens of nonprofits throughout Charlotte, and including leading the first program in the country to teach digital literacy basic skills inside the Mecklenburg County Detention Center where residents earn a laptop upon their release.
I’ve collaborated with local, state, and national government agencies, the nonprofit community, and more recently with our business community. I’ve sat with and heard first hand the dreams, aspirations, and challenges of a diverse and growing community and I have the receipts to back it up.
The digital divide is just a part of the broader opportunity we have in front of us as a city — we must take bold action and design progressive policy that helps everyone thrive. I know there are several key items on the agenda this year that will move us in that direction like the Charlotte 2040 plan and the unified development ordinance. I’m ready to get to work to drive these key items, and others, across the finish line over the next ten months.
You can count on me to be prepared for the role, to be a collaborative colleague, to be always focused on the will of the community, and to do everything I can to to ensure that all people in our community are connected to opportunity and that we all can thrive in our modern culture.
2. Mayor and Council have established four Key Focus Areas: Develop an Integrated and Multi-modal Mobility Network; Evaluate Council Structure and Operations; Develop and Connect Pathways to Employment; and Strategic Investment in Key Corridors. As a Councilmember, what principles would you consider most important to shaping these policies?
- Courage — As we find our way forward as a city over the next ten months, there will be times when courageous decisions will need to be made. I’m prepared to, when called up or compelled, to act courageously on behalf of the residents of our community.
- Empathy — Over the last 13 years I’ve worked in communities all across Charlotte. I’ve spent time getting to know people from nearly every corner of this city. I feel a strong sense of empathy for my community and thus prepared to serve them and their interests as we advance these four Key Focus Areas.
- Resilience — As we seek to create new policy as a city, and in the face of such challenging times, the policy must be able to help our community absorb, recover from, and prepare for the next opportunities we have coming our way — even those we do not yet know about.
- Vision — In a rapidly growing city, I believe vision is not only a key principle, but one I possess. It is the ability to see the interconnectedness of it all. As an example, pathways to employment don’t just happen in job centers, but they happen in neighborhoods and often start around the kitchen table. From a rapidly growing University City area to placemaking efforts at the gates of Johnson C Smith University and Historic West End — we need visionary thinking to ensure the connectedness of our city.
3. Please describe your previous experience — volunteer, professional or advocacy — that has prepared you for a City Council appointment.
- Deputy Regional Field Director, Obama for America
Co-managed largest campaign staff nationwide, with 68 field organizers and 5,000+ volunteers in a 5-county region.
Led NC’s largest vote-goal region, facilitating a victory for the first Democratic presidential candidate in 32 years.
Headed staff effort to register 30,000+ new voters, exceeding regional goals by more than 25,000 votes.
Served as a front-line resource for organizer questions, staff training, and logistics.
Managed infrastructure and resource allocation for eight field offices.
Coordinated with national advance staff on crowd control, venue selection, and political outreach for surrogate visits from local politicians, national celebrities, Michelle Obama, and then Senator Barack Obama and Senator Joe Biden.
- Campaign Manager, Anthony Foxx for Mayor
Managed successful campaign to elect Charlotte’s first Democratic mayor in 22 years.
Hired, trained, and managed stakeholders from volunteers to director-level management.
Drafted and submitted press releases and advisories to various media outlets.
Represented candidates at both public and private events.
Focused on strategically targeting precincts, increasing turnout by 30%+.
Campaign Manager, Ken Lewis for United States Senate
Led core campaign team, including 10 staff and consultants, while developing strong relationships with community leaders at the local, state, and federal level and overseeing fundraising operations.
Developed and maintained ongoing relationships with local and national media outlets, specializing in print, online, and television communications; represented the candidate at both public and private events.
Drafted and submitted press releases and advisories to various media outlets.
Promoted candidate brand identification by using new, earned, and paid media as well as volunteer assets.
- Executive Director, The PPL,
Developed and promoted media internship opportunities and hired over 10 logistics employees and team representatives from Charlotte.
Collaborated with mainstream media channels, served 1,200 digital media content creators from across the globe, and cultivated strong partnerships with popular tech companies such as Ustream, Twitter, Reddit, and government organizations.
Produced a live television show and created a branded experience for DNC and government officials.
Secured media coverage such as the Voices of America PBS, Mediashift Columbia Journal Review.
Director, Marketing, Infobelt
Provided support in building the brand and B2B enterprise marketing operation for a Charlotte based big data startup.
Managed design and marketing communications specialists in developing the company logo, website, messaging strategies, and marketing materials.
Collaborated with sales teams on special events and business development plans.
- Executive Director, Digital Charlotte at the Knight School of Communication, Queens University of Charlotte
Manage stakeholder relations across a diverse network of partners including; the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, CM Library, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the John S./James L. Knight Foundation, Charlotte Works, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, the North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office, and several other regional non-profit organizations.
Served as the original convenor of the Charlotte Digital Inclusion Alliance and produced cities first digital inclusion playbook.
Led efforts to attract the National Digital Inclusion Alliance Net Inclusion Conference to Charlotte in the year of 2019.
Provide oversight and strategic direction and mentoring to a team of staff, interns, and students, and engage with faculty.
Other related experience:
- Supported the City of Charlotte in producing its application for the Department of Transportation $50Million Challenge designing forward-thinking mobility solutions for our community
- Participant in the Transatlantic Cities of Tomorrow — American Council on Germany exchange focused on the future of work. Collaborated with teams from Nashville and Knoxville TN, along with teams from Magdeburg, Halle, and Leipzig, Germany. The focus of the exchange was exploring the future of work and what cities were doing to prepare their communities.
- Former Board Member, Generation Nation
- Current Board Member, CORE, an Inlivian (formerly Charlotte Housing Authority) subsidiary.
Links to additional relevant info: