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Where Are They Now? Capital City Fellows

Polina Bakhteiarov– 2011 Capital City Fellow

Posted in March 2015

1. What years did you participate in the Capital City Fellowship?
2011-2013

2. Which agencies did you rotate in during your Fellowship?
District Department of the Environment (DDOE)
Fire and EMS Department (FEMS)
Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED)

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your fellowship placements.
DDOE: Served as project manager on Mayor’s 20-year comprehensive sustainability initiative (sustainable.dc.gov) as part of 4-person inter-agency team; planned and executed public participation process of in-person, phone and virtual touch points with 1600+ stakeholders; led 50-member working group to propose vision statement, goals, action items and performance indicators that address sustainability of natural systems, open space/parks, wildlife, habitat and biodiversity

FEMS: Led 5-person team in designing and launching data-driven performance management/resource allocation system; expanded quantitative analysis methodology to assess risk, service delivery and unit performance; collaborated with senior managers to correct, streamline and execute reporting of agency performance plan elements, including key performance indicators and workload measures

DMPED: Served as project manager on $400M+ real estate and economic development portfolio, including 183-acre St. Elizabeths East Campus (tech & innovation focus), 66-acre former Walter Reed Army Medical Center (sustainability focus) and 18-acre Skyland Town Center (retail & restaurant focus); led “front burner” special projects for Chief of Staff, including (1) business process re-engineering and data governance solution development for citywide affordable housing projects, and (2) aggregation, structuring and analysis of production, preservation and leveraging data to execute Mayor's vision to preserve and produce 10,000 affordable housing units by 2020; supported internal processes, including budget planning and formulation, contracting, grant/loan making and data analytics, including development of Deputy Mayor's Dashboard to ensure data-driven policymaking for best use of public resources

4. Where are you working now? Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your current place of employment.
I’m still at DMPED, where I serve as the Great Streets Manager, leading the District of Columbia’s commercial revitalization initiative - “Great Streets” - to transform emerging corridors into thriving and inviting neighborhood centers that are a magnet for private investment. I formulate, execute, and evaluate the District’s commercial investment strategy of small business development, corridor-level anchor assets, and cross-sector partnerships.

5. What did you learn from participating in the Capital City Fellowship program that you have been able to carry over to your new position?
The most valuable aspect of the program is the network that you build as a Fellow because you have access to such a broad spectrum of government officials, all the way up to the Mayor, City Administrator, and Deputy Mayors. The diversity of agencies through which I was able to rotate allowed me to learn about how government functions, and how to approach the same challenges from various priority systems. Finally, always being held to a standard of excellence as a Fellow has allowed me to emerge as a leader in my current agency.

Alexandra Caceres – 2011 Capital City Fellow

Posted in March 2015

1. What years did you participate in the Capital City Fellowship?
2011-2013

2. Which agencies did you rotate in during your Fellowship?
DC Public Schools (DCPS)
Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice (DMPSJ)
Office of Justice Grants Administration and Victim Services (JGA/OVS)

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your fellowship placements.
DCPS – Worked on developing and advancing the District’s STEM vision and manages a hybrid-learning math intervention program.
DMPSJ – Served as policy and legislative analyst in establishing the Correction Information Council.
JGA/OVS – Developed and launched the Show Up, Stand Out attendance improvement program that addresses

4. Where are you working now? Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your current place of employment.
JGA/OVS – I am currently the Program Director for Show Up, Stand Out. I am responsible for the development and execution of the program across over 50 DC public and public charter schools.

5. What did you learn from participating in the Capital City Fellowship program that you have been able to carry over to your new position?
As a Capital City Fellow I had direct access to many high-level city officials that provided great insight to my professional and personal development. Even as a former Fellow, I have been able to take advantage of the growing network of folks that have a variety of perspectives in the program and that partner with the program. I do believe that I would be in a different place in my career had I not been given the opportunity to explore DC Government as a Capital City Fellow.

Lee Goldstein – 2013 Capital City Fellow

Posted in March 2015

Project Manager: Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

1. What years did you participate in the Capital City Fellowship?
2013-2014.

2. Which agencies did you rotate in during your Fellowship?
Office of Planning (OP)
Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD)
Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED).

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your fellowship placements.
As I Fellow, I worked on urban planning initiatives, including Sustainable DC and the New Communities Initiative, as well as the District’s pipeline of affordable housing. I served in a variety of roles, including community outreach, policy formulation, data collection and analysis, grant management, and communications work. My assignments included preparing briefing memos for senior staff, organizing and facilitating outreach events, developing and managing digital media outlets, performing research on best practices, preparing presentations for City Council and community associations, and making recommendations for improvements to agency operations. 

4. Where are you working now? Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your current place of employment.
As a Project Manager, I manage a portfolio of real estate projects for the city. This involves every aspect of the development process, from identifying a parcel of land for development, to selecting a development team, reviewing and managing predevelopment and architectural drawings, shepherding projects through the city’s zoning process, negotiating a financing structure and reviewing budgets, and managing the community outreach process. My day to day work involves writing and reviewing solicitations for development projects, evaluating responses, and working with development teams to negotiate the disposition, financing, and development of public land. I also structure and manage timelines for project milestones, perform site visits, and problem-solve challenges that arise during the development process. 

5. What did you learn from participating in the Capital City Fellowship program that you have been able to carry over to your new position?
First, the rotational aspect of the Capital City Fellows program prepares you to work across disciplines and manage processes or contribute to initiatives that impact multiple agencies. The development process necessitates interaction with a number of different agencies and stakeholders, and I use my contacts and my rotational experiences to improve interagency coordination and collaboration. Through the Fellowship, I learned a lot about the different neighborhoods and the major stakeholders that impact the planning and development process, and is a framework that helps guide my projects.  The Fellowship also teaches you how to prioritize and strategize around time sensitive projects that may have multiple, often contradicting needs or priorities. Through the exposure to complex challenges in the Fellowship, I am better prepared to ultimately come up with creative solutions to challenges that meet both policy goals and community needs, while managing both the risk and the fiduciary responsibility of the District.

Lee Hagy – 2012 Capital City Fellow

Posted in March 2015

1. What years did you participate in the Capital City Fellowship?
      2012-2014

2. Which agencies did you rotate in during your Fellowship?
I rotated in the Mayor’s Office of Budget and Finance, the Office of Boards and Commissions (now the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Appointments), the Office of the Attorney General, and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services.

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your fellowship placements.

  1. Mayor’s Office of Budget and Finance (October 2012-April 2013): Assisted Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s Capital Budget Director with the development of the FY 2014 - FY 2019 Capital Improvements Plan, including tracking the enhancement requests of agencies and analyzing score sheets for directors to prioritize enhancement requests.
     
  2. Office of Boards and Commissions  (April 2013-October 2013): Drafted Boards and Commissions Reform Act of 2013 (B20-17) revisions; Oversaw updates to the office’s website; Proposed recommendations for the creation of a new District Statehood Commission; Drafted Mayor’s Orders; Assisted with FOIA requests.
     
  3. Office of the Attorney General, Equity Section (October 2013-April 2014): Assisted staff attorneys with the defense of constitutional litigation brought against the District; Worked with the Taxicab Commission General Counsel to challenge two TRO’s and Preliminary Injunctions by co-drafting a 50-page opposition motion; Completed multiple FOIA requests; Attended mediation sessions; Drafted discovery requests.
     
  4. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services (April 2014-November 2014): Acting office lead for the affordable housing and homeless services portfolio. 

4. Where are you working now? Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your current place of employment.
I am working as a Program Analyst on issues pertaining to human services.

5. What did you learn from participating in the Capital City Fellowship program that you have been able to carry over to your new position?
Through the Capital City Fellowship, I learned a great deal about the operations of municipal government agencies and about the history of my hometown of Washington, D.C.  My experiences taught me about budget, legal, and operations concerns that all of the agencies must address on a daily basis.  This experience provided me with knowledge that I have carried over into my current position and will utilize throughout my career in public service.

Sasha Hammond-Lee – 2012 Capital City Fellow

Posted in March 2015

1. What years did you participate in the Capital City Fellowship?
I served as a Capital City beginning in April 2012 thru May 2014.

2. Which agencies did you rotate in during your Fellowship?
D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities
Department of Small and Local Business Development
Mayor’s Office of Budget and Finance
Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your fellowship placements.

  • D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities: Conducted analysis and planned events in support of grants administration, community outreach, inter-agency coordination, grant compliance, and strategic planning for creative programs.
  • Department of Small and Local Business Development: Provided administrative and operational support to performance management and strategic initiatives.
  • Mayor’s Office of Budget and Finance: Supplied strategic direction and planning in support of the Capital Improvements Program.
  • Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development: Conducted analysis and planning in operations, real estate, community outreach, marketing, evaluation, metrics development, inter-agency coordination, compliance, and strategic development for the Great Streets program.

4. Where are you working now? Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your current place of employment.
I currently serve as a management analyst at the Office of the Inspector General in the Inspections and Evaluations Division. I plan, organize and conduct management, organizational and operational analysis activities for D.C. Government agencies, offices, programs and specific issues affecting local residents.

5. What did you learn from participating in the Capital City Fellowship program that you have been able to carry over to your new position?
The fellowship allowed me to enhance my public service values, leadership skills, and managerial abilities. I gained on-the-job training in analyzing issues and providing actionable solutions for a wide variety of operational and strategic problems that affect many state and municipal governments. The experience that I have gained from working at various levels of D.C. Government and with external stakeholders has really given me a unique perspective on how to resolve public sector issues.

Christina Harper – 2012 Capital City Fellow

Posted in April 2014

1. What years did you participate in the Capital City Fellowship?
November 2012 – February 2014

2. Which agencies did you rotate in during your Fellowship?
Deputy Mayor for Education (DME)
Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO)

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your fellowship placements.
My fellowship included a five-month rotation in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME). As a fellow with the DME, my responsibilities included managing external affairs and communications for the District’s Raise DC initiative. I also handled various social media functions on behalf of the Office. During my tenure, we established a solid, consistent social media and communications presence and doubled online followers. In addition, I have made recommendations for an internal technology and civic engagement plan to further boost the Office’s digital presence and sharing of information. I also drafted a proposed plan to attend to the needs of disconnected youth on behalf of the Deputy Mayor, for submission for consider by the mayor.

My fellowship included a six-month rotation with the Connect.DC – Digital Inclusion team, in the Office of the Chief Technology Officer. In this role, I managed special projects relating to Internet affordability and Internet accessibility. I also managed the department’s social media and marketing for events and external affairs.  

4. Where are you working now? Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your current place of employment.
I am now a Project Analyst for the Office of the Chief Technology Officer on the Digital Inclusion team, Connect.DC at the Government of the District of Columbia. In this role, I am responsible for the creation of tools and programs that make technology easier to use, more accessible, more affordable, and more relevant to the everyday lives of District residents and community institutions. I also serve in a validation role for the Agency’s Federal Grants.  In this role, I help confirm the accuracy of all reports before submission.

5. What did you learn from participating in the Capital City Fellowship program that you have been able to carry over to your new position?
My time as a fellow was influential in preparing me for a position with the Office of the Chief Technology Officer. My familiarity with DC Government gave me the insight and skills needed to land this role. Furthermore, the knowledge learned through CCF professional development sessions and presentations amongst other fellows allowed me to connect my work with other happenings in the District.
 


Jonathan Rogers – 2012 Capital City Fellow

Posted in April 2014

1. What years did you participate in the Capital City Fellowship?
April 2012 through October 2012

2. Which agencies did you rotate in during your Fellowship?
Mayor’s Office of Budget and Finance

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your fellowship placements.
My fellowship included a six-month rotation in the Mayor's Office of Budget and Finance, in the Executive Office of the Mayor. In this role, I assisted the Director of the Capital Improvements Program. Broadly, I contributed to the office's activity in advising the Mayor on financial and budgetary operations of the District government, assisted the Mayor in the formulation of the annual operating and capital budgets for the District government, and monitored agency budget performance during the fiscal year.

4. Where are you working now? Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your current place of employment.
After working full-time for over two years at the Mayor’s Office of Budget and Finance, I moved to a position at the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in 2014. As a Policy Analyst in DDOT’s Policy, Planning, and Sustainability Administration I formulate policies and regulatory proposals that pertain to the development of transportation systems for the District of Columbia, with particular emphasis on a multi-modal comprehensive approach. I research and draft innovative policies and programs that balance public and private sector needs, and contribute to long-term policies and plans through quantitative and qualitative research and analysis of transportation, land-use, economic, social, and environmental trends. Recently I have focused on the District’s Vision Zero action plan to reduce annual traffic fatalities to zero. While at DDOT, I was also detailed to then Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser’s Transition Team as a budget analyst.

5. What did you learn from participating in the Capital City Fellowship program that you have been able to carry over to your new position?
My time as a Fellow was critical in preparing me for both of the permanent positions I have now held with the District Government. As a Fellow, my exposure to numerous agencies and initiatives throughout the District Government, and participation in the budget formulation and execution processes, were priceless experiences that I could not have enjoyed elsewhere. Without gaining the tangible skills the fellowship provided, I would not have been qualified for the positions I was eventually offered. The Fellowship provided me with a context and an understanding of District Government that is still making me a more effective analyst today.
 


Mamadou Samba – 2011 Capital City Fellow

Posted in March 2014

1. What years did you participate in the Capital City Fellowship?
2011 - 2013

2. Which agencies did you rotate in during your Fellowship?
Executive Office of the Mayor- Office on African Affairs
Office of the Chief Financial Officer – Office of Budget and Planning
Department of General Services – Energy & Sustainability
Office of the Chief Financial Officer – Office of Budget and Planning

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your fellowship placements.
Overall, my responsibilities in my placements involved serving as a communication specialist in the Office on African Affairs, where I worked on several projects and produced a report; serving in the project management team at the Department of General Services on projects to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent over 20 months in the District, and acting as a Capital Budget Analyst in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, where I was retained as a permanent staff member.

4. Where are you working now? Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your current place of employment.
I am currently serving as a Capital Budget Administration Analyst for the Office of the Chief Financial Officer – Office of Budget and Planning, where I am responsible for the formulation and execution of a specific area of the District’s Capital Improvements Plan budget.   I also serve on the Commission on African Affairs as a public voting member for a term expiring in 2016. 

5. What did you learn from participating in the Capital City Fellowship program that you have been able to carry over to your new position?
Leadership skills and the importance of collaboration are the two main things I have learned from participating in the Capital City Fellowship.  These skills have been instrumental in my existing position, particularly since the job involves working in close collaboration with other agencies, programs, the Council of the District and the Mayor’s budget staff.

Mamadou Samba was appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser in January 2015 to serve as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of African Affairs.  He is responsible for implementing robust programs aimed a improving the lives of African immigrants in the District.


Stacie West – 2012 Capital City Fellow

Posted in March 2014

1. What years did you participate in the Capital City Fellowship?
2012-2013

2. Which agencies did you rotate in during your Fellowship?
District Department of the Environment – Office of Policy and Sustainability
Department of Parks and Recreation – Office of Planning and Capital Projects

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your fellowship placements.
At the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), I worked on a small team (from both DDOE and the Office of Planning) responsible for developing the Mayor's Sustainable DC Plan. The plan sets ambitious goals across the city and among many subject matters that touch everyone in an effort to make DC the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the US.

At the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), I joined the Capital Projects and Planning team and immediately jumped into Play DC, a mayoral initiative to renovate all of the District's playgrounds. DPR also launched a Master Plan process during my time as a fellow and I provided support to the team working on developing the plan, which will guide capital and operational investment and decision making over the next 15 years.

4. Where are you working now? Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your current place of employment.
I am now employed with DPR as a Community Planner. I was hired out of my time as a fellow at DPR and continue to work on the same projects that I started on but with a little more longevity and responsibility. I now help lead the Master Plan effort and rather than assisting with developing capital projects, I lead in their development by overseeing design and construction on several playgrounds and a recreation center. I also serve as a DPR point of contact for Sustainable DC; it's rewarding to continue to work on this project from another angle.

5. What did you learn from participating in the Capital City Fellowship program that you have been able to carry over to your new position?
Many things! Most importantly, I think I learned to be an advocate for myself and to not be afraid to ask to be involved where I thought I could contribute. There are many exciting, innovative things going on in the District right now, and the Fellows program helped me build up both my technical skill set and my leadership skill set so that I feel prepared to get involved in the great work being done.
 

Ted Van Houten – 2014 Capital City Fellow

Posted in March 2015

1. What years did you participate in the Capital City Fellowship?
January 2014 – January 2015

2. Which agencies did you rotate in during your Fellowship?
District Department of Transportation – Progressive Transportation Services Administration
Executive Office of the Mayor – Office of Budget and Finance

3. Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your fellowship placements.
At the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), I worked with the team supporting the DC Circulator. We worked on updating the Circulator’s Transit Development Plan and the route expansion to the National Mall. I was also tasked with oversight of the Circulator’s operator, and coordinated meetings between them, DDOT, and WMATA. Other duties included reviewing development review cases and providing comments on transit impacts, oversight of vehicle acceptance procedures for the DC Streetcar, conducting research on transit governance around the country, and supervising interns from the Summer Youth Employment Program.

At the Office of Budget and Finance, I assisted the Director of the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) in preparing reprogramming requests for capital projects for a variety of District government agencies. I also served on the Capital Budget Team (CBT), attended CIP meetings, tracked capital project enhancement requests from agencies, and worked with CBT members to provide feedback on capital budget requests. I also assisted the Department of General Services with their efforts in researching the feasibility of opening small housing developments to house homeless residents, contributing to the effort to close the shelter at the DC General Hospital campus.

4. Where are you working now? Briefly describe your responsibilities/day-to-day activities in your current place of employment.
I am the Western area planner in the Strategic Planning Branch in the DDOT’s Policy, Planning & Sustainability Administration. Our branch focuses on neighborhood short- and long-range transportation planning efforts, including corridor studies, neighborhood livability studies, and implementation of moveDC, DDOT’s multi-modal long-range transportation vision for the District of Columbia. My area of the District encompasses Ward 3, the portion of Ward 4 west of Rock Creek Park, and the Ward 2 neighborhoods of Georgetown, Kalorama, and Burleith. I’m also involved in supporting development review activities, transportation service requests, operations issues, and capital improvements in my area, although these requests are usually implemented by other areas of DDOT.

5. What did you learn from participating in the Capital City Fellowship program that you have been able to carry over to your new position?
The Capital City Fellows Program gave me my first substantial public sector experience. I was already familiar with the neighborhoods and transportation networks of the District as a resident of this area for several years, but my experience as a Fellow at DDOT enhanced this knowledge and gave me the opportunity to gain a new perspective. I never had budget experience before entering the Fellows program, and during my rotation in the budget office, I was able to gain valuable experience in learning how a municipal budget operates. The unique situation that Fellows are given allowed me to gain this experience, and I never would have had access to it without the program. The Fellows program has broadened my experience, allowed me to gain new skills, and made major contributions to my professional growth.