Overview

This year for the National Advisory Council election, Brigade members will vote on five at-large candidates for a two year term on the National Advisory Council.

The National Advisory Council helps guide Code for America’s volunteer program. All candidates were asked to answer four free-response questions. Learn about the people running for NAC through their answers below.

Vote now! Be sure to cast your ballot by the end of March 1, 2019.

Candidates for National Advisory Council

Patrick Atwater

Hack for LA, Open California Collaborative

Firm believer in the value of public service. Lover of intellectual and athletic adventures. Californian to the core.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

Breaking out of our bubble and focusing on winning the larger war to modernize how government operates. Look at the news. American government is in crisis. Trust in public institutions is at historic lows. Massive public challenges like climate change remain unaddressed. Yet there is something endlessly inspiring in this grassroots network and the simple truth is that government deserves the power under the US constitution from "we the people." That's why I firmly believe civic tech can be at the vanguard of transforming how EVERY government operates and meeting those mountains. That should feel scary. It certainly does for me. The reality though is that those challenges will not solve themselves and modernizing how government operates just needs to be done.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

Civic tech has so much untapped potential. At the turn of the last century, a similar nonpartisan progressive movement transformed how local city governments operate. Artifacts we take for granted today like professional city managers, regular budgeting and publicly owned utilities were each radical innovations in their time. Those management changes resulted in transformational improvements in city life If we're honest with ourselves, nothing we've done so far in civic tech lives up to that historical standard of excellence. We can -- and given the challenges facing our country -- must do better. That's the big problem (and opportunity!) facing civic tech. On the NAC, I intend to be part of the group helping civic tech dream and do bigger things.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

The NAC would be highly synergistic to my ongoing activities. My primary focus is on common challenges across California through the Open CA Collab and I am active in Hack for LA primarily through that role. In my day job, I run a startup nonprofit called Applied Research in Government Operations (see ARGOlabs.org) which provides public data infrastructure to help local governments tackle common challenges. That has helped our partner California water agencies save over $20 million dollars in avoided capital costs, help optimize over half a billion dollars in cash for grass rebates and provide the first statewide data on Governor Brown's historic new water efficiency legislation helping California adapt to the new normal of water scarcity with climate change. Learning from those water data wins and leaders across civic tech, I authored a set of Public Technology Principles to help take civic tech to the next level in CA and beyond. See bit.ly/californias_future

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

My proudest work in this area has been helping in a small way to spin up a new brigade in Fresno (still in progress), which too often is part of forgotten California. It's so critical that we hear from such voices. I'd also really like to continue to focus on supporting brigades in outreaching and working with natural allies outside of the civic tech bubble. I used to serve on the Board of the League of Women Voters of California and would like to help brigades build alliances with the league and other similar good government organizations.

Ron Bronson

Code for PDX (Portland)

I'm currently a member of Code for Portland. Previously, I led Code for Bloomington, launched Indianapolis Design Week. I speak at design & UX conferences globally. These days, I'm on the experience design team at 18F. Before that, I mostly worked for state and local governments.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

...Agitating more collaboration across brigades, amplifying the work, and encouraging all kinds of stakeholders to participate. Right now, civic tech is still a bit of a buzzword. Everyday people could not tell you what it meant. Until our work has the awareness of local governments in big cities, and small ones. I'll continue to be an evangelist for the benefits of civic tech partnership, and letting people know they're space for them to participate.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

Make it easier to communicate outside of events with the wider network. Right now, it can be difficult in small and medium sized communities (e.g. college towns) to maintain the energy that bigger places can generate easier. We need to devise better tools and methods to make it easier to sustain a brigade. Improving collaboration could be part of this, too.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

I'd continue being a member, but I'm not involved in leadership.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

A lot of people are still opaque about what brigades are, and how they can benefit communities, so generating awareness is often the first set to improving brigade inclusiveness and diversity. I've also been an advocate for making it explicit that brigades need more than just code skills, and highlighting the value of our work, especially to people who don't think of themselves as technical.

Emma Burnett

OpenMaine

Em is a community organizer and civic technology evangelist with a focus and passion on small-town digital innovation and service delivery. Em is a digital engagement consultant who works with political campaigns and nonprofits. They are also the cofounder of OpenMaine.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

...listening to the needs of our Brigade leaders. We have strength and long-term stability within our network that can help fledgling, small, or under-resourced groups better organize members, grow partnerships, and ultimately create a lasting organization model.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

Member engagement. CfA Network team is going to be working a lot on this problem in the coming year, and NAC can help by understanding the needs of organizers and brigade leaders and making sure that's reflected in network plans and resources.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

I find they blend into each other and complement each other. My brigade has benefited from my active involvement with NAC because of my increased opportunity to hear how other groups work. I have a flexible work schedule and carve out time for each.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

We have implemented a new Code of Conduct with our group, and changed the language of our meetups and events to reflect our code of conduct and our target audience. The NAC & Network team could help by creating guides (like Accessibility 101) and training opportunities for leaders.

Jerry Caropolo

Code for Hackensack

Hey CfA! I'm Code for Hackensack's Brigade Captain and Chair of UWRBAT. My dream is to unite global communities and achieve positive impact through a combination of innovative, entrepreneurial, and philanthropic initiatives.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

...smashing silos, building bridges, connecting change-makers, and facilitating constructive collaboration across the community.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

An inspirational vision for cross-brigade cooperation has been established with the BAT framework. NAC can focus the next year on ensuring that the Network understands and employs this underutilized resource, accelerating the flow of international ideas to local communities and empowering individual brigade efforts with the benefits of interconnected knowledge.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

I will continue to rely on the strengths of my incredible team to ensure that my contributions to NAC do not detract in any way from the foundation we've set and the growth we envision for CFH.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

CFH is a minority-majority brigade as nationally underrepresented demographics form the bulk of our organization. Further, we've stipulated that the success of UWRBAT will require achieving and maintaining a minimum of 50% women-led teams throughout the entirety of our global operations. NAC and the Network can help magnify the impact of our initiative by assisting us in determining the right success metrics to include in UWRBAT's Diversity & Inclusion Strategy which are appropriate, scalable, and equitable for individual nations across a transnational framework.

Aaron Deacon

Code for KC (Kansas City)

I run a non-profit called KC Digital Drive. One of our programs is Code for KC. I spent 10 years in the research, consulting and strategic planning world before deciding to apply those skills around innovation and customer experience to emerging tech in the civic space.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

working on organizational models for sustaining the work. A defining issue in the civic tech space is how to build civic and community institutions as the very nature of community is reshaped by digital spaces. The balance between collective impact and systems level outcomes and the freedom of individuals or small communities to be self-determined and empowered isn't necessarily new--but the way we ascribe power to intermediating organizations has changed. There is a lot of rebalancing to do; the open source community is a great example where there is a promise of democratization but a natural tendency toward hierarchy. Figuring out the right way to build civic capacity to adapt to emerging tech is a key mission of our organization.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

I would love to see some of the discrete solutions within the network scale. We have a Clear My Record team here in Kansas City, working closely with UMKC's Law School, and led by one of our Core Team members (Scott Stockwell) and a board member who is the former law school dean (Ellen Suni). The issues here are different than those in California, and the solution looks a bit different. But seeing these (and other Brigades tackling this problem) is a great example of the kind of impact the network can have. And it's a little different than the assumed model, I think, of create something in one place and scale it. There's some of that, but we are also taking an approach of solving a similar problem in different ways across different communities...and then taking a look at how we draw out the commonalities in the work. I think the opportunity is great.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

That's a tough question, and one that has held me back from running for NAC. It's a challenge. That said, part of our internal goal this year at Code for KC is to expand our local management capacity and take some of the work off my and Paul's plate. So participating on the NAC will give, I hope, a different kind of value to our local Brigade (which doesn't take as much advantage of the Network as I would like), keep it top-of-mind for me to bring national or cross-Brigade opportunities to the team, and create more space for other leaders to step up.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

We've moved in fits and starts toward diversity and inclusion. I think we've been pretty successful in some ways and less so in others. I think seeing how others measure diversity, set goals, think about those goals in respect to the broader tech community in a city will help to inform our work here. One of the advantages of having the Code for KC Brigade in a broader portfolio of programs is the opportunity for some cross-pollination. We (KC Digital Drive) are a founding member of the KC Coalition for Digital Inclusion and have a pretty broad network in bringing digital infrastructure and skills to underserved neighborhoods, as well as bringing an inclusivity lens to city tech policy. This doesn't always translate to having these neighborhoods represented at hack night, but we can engage in other ways, like with user testing for Brigade apps and sites.

Nile Dixon

Sketch City (Houston)

I am a tall, black guy who loves to code for civic tech.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

...contributing to the development of technology that addresses current needs. One of the things was inspiring to me was to know the code that I worked on during Hurricane Harvey was being used in some capacity in other hurricane preparedness and relief efforts. I would love to grow the community by continuing to develop tech that helps people in need.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

One of the main problems I see with Code for America is that the organization does not have a variety of inter-Brigade events outside of Summit and Congress. I would love to see the NAC organize more online hackathon events that get multiple brigades working with each other.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

I see my possible participation in the National Advisory Council as something to complement my involvement with my local Brigade. I will spend a lot of time incorporating one into the other.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

I think that there needs to be more . I feel like many people, at least people like me, stumble into civic-tech on accident and aren't aware of this being an actual movement with a growing community. Working on establishing pipelines of high school and college students into civic tech is something we need. While I went to school in Maine, I spent a lot of time bringing awareness to coding for civic tech and social good.

Tim Eccleston

Code for Nashville

I'm Tim Eccleston, Code for Nashville's Community Engagement & Diversity Lead. I joined 3 years ago to increase digital literacy, civic engagement, and equity and started co-leading 1 year ago. Our 2019 goals are transparency, concrete commitments, and "Community-Driven DataViz".

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

I really admire people who are willing to critique the tech industry for abusing their (or our) power. For example, Anil Dash has observed that startups will boast about how their technology will make the world a better place until something goes wrong. Then, they insist that "tech is neutral" and blame others instead. We can't take the credit without taking responsibility. We need to acknowledge the power of technology, demystify it, take responsibility, and democratize the entire process so the community controls technology (and government), not the other way around. While I think it is important to train government in best practices from tech culture, I also think we also need to train technologists in community organizing, non-profit work, democratic governance, and research. We have a lot to learn from many communities. Particularly in civic tech, we should listen to journalists, watchdogs, and critics. No technology is cooler than building with, not for.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

I think the NAC should work with CfA to publicize the not-always-rosy history between the CFA and the brigades while we still have the original and early NAC members. Ideally, this would honor multiple perspectives in respectful tension rather than sanitizing things from any one perspective. Once we can talk frankly and publicly about our problems, mistakes, and baggage, we'll be better equipped to collaborate on the mission and invite others in. I would also like to see the NAC and Network team continue to promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in all the brigades. I think NAC is in a unique position to help brigades form strong bonds with other brigades and learn from each other year-round (not just at Congress). Finally, I would want NAC to work closely with the CFA Network team to hire remote and in-person third-party trainings, consulting, and audits for common brigade needs such as community organizing, design thinking, marketing, lobbying, data analytics, etc.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

We've been focused for a while on sharing the brigade leadership responsibilities. So if I got one of the at-large seats in the National Advisory Council, I would use it as an excuse to recruit and delegate within Code for Nashville even more. :) A year ago, there were only 2 leads and 2 of us members met with them to talk about how to make the organization more effective and sustainable. We were concerned that the brigade was a lot for 1 or even 2 people to maintain and that it was in danger of collapsing if they ever burnt out. We met about 10 times over 6 months to discuss and write a handbook. Now, we have 4 different people in formal leadership positions, each with a different focus. In 2019, we also want to conduct our first true elections and start sharing our software accounts and budget for more transparent and flexible administration. Hopefully, I will be fully replaceable at Code for Nashville very soon if I'm not already.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

I would love to see the NAC and Network team provide internal and third party trainings, audits, and consulting for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). I also hope the new Network Census will not just measure diversity stats, but also recruit anonymous, independent feedback about DEI efforts and offenses at the brigades. This last year, we created and advertised my new DEI leadership role, our own code of conduct, and a safespace email address. We started partnering with diverse organizations such as Black in Tech and Vanderbilt Women in Computing for events and I try pick activities that encourage learning names and listening to diverse perspectives. I recently recruited an experienced non-profit consultant to audit and guide us through our first ever succession-planning and election cycle. She's hoping to do her PhD research on our "Community-Driven Data Visualization" project. We hope this project will broaden conversations about civic tech by lowering the barrier to entry.

David Ginzberg

Open Data Delaware

I'm a founding captain of Open Data Delaware, technology educator, and civic tech entrepreneur obsessed with understanding how we build stronger more interconnected communities. After hours I'm a salsa dancer and soon to be dog dad.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

I'd like to dig deeper into the wisdom already present in the civic tech community, with a focus on Civic first and Tech second. We have people from every kind of background with a huge variety of life experiences in the CfA network and the broader civic tech community, and there is wisdom in those experiences. At the brigade level we talk a lot about how to bring people in to hack nights and project days, and how to get people involved in projects, but it's just as important to look at how we can go out and get involved with other existing civic organizations, and what we can learn from the people right next to us. I'd like to get to know many more people in the civic tech and civil service communities, both internal and external to CfA, and help connect them where I can, to help spread that wisdom and deepen the cross-community connections that make us so strong and resilient in the face of big societal challenges. NAC service seems to me like a great way do dig into that challenge.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

Starting out in a brigade, either as a member attending events and project days of an existing brigade, or as a founding member of a new one, seems to still be a pretty steep uphill climb in a lot of our communities. At the Brigade Congress in Charlotte many of us saw and shared that the onboarding process for new members can be emotionally exhausting and confusing for all involved. We've created playbooks and organizer guides to help newly forming brigades, but it seems like the greatest value has come from conversations in slack, discourse, and other places where we gather and share ideas. As the glue that bonds our brigades and the CfA team together, I think the NAC is well positioned to facilitate these conversations and help share the different approaches brigades have used to overcome those early hurdles and form deeper, lasting partnerships with their local community and their newest members.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

In our brigade a lot of my work either happens during our meetups, or at our monthly team meetings. In addition to that, my responsibilities include being a connector between our brigade and the Code for America community, which overlaps nicely with NAC responsibilities. I'm also very fortunate to have three co-captains that I work with at Open Data Delaware. Any time one of us is busy with work or personal obligations, there's generally someone available to pick up the slack. There will certainly be times when local and national responsibilities compete for my attention, but I feel comfortable knowing that I can ask someone for help when that happens -- we've even started doing this occasionally with our weekly meetups, asking for our members to try on the organizer role as a guest host for a week or two, and have been talking about other ways to help interested brigade members become more involved in leadership positions on projects, events, and overall operations.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

When we first started our brigade we held hack nights in clearly tech-flavored spaces. This was comfortable for our founders and some of our earliest members, but we noticed that our regular attendance looked nothing like the general population. To address that we decided to try to meet community members where they already were, by moving our hack nights to public libraries and changing the event name. This has helped a little, and we've had additional success partnering with local community organizations and hosting events in their meeting spaces, with less focus on tech. There's a lot more we can do here, and I think that the NAC and the Network team can support these efforts by continuing to facilitate the inter-brigade video-chats on various organizing topics, as well as surveying the brigade community to identify skill gaps in brigade leadership and project teams and help to fill those gaps with workshops, cross-brigade skill sharing, or other learning resources.

Ian Henshaw

Code for Cary

Brigade Captain with Code for Cary since 2013 and active with the Open NC Collaborative Brigade. Serial Entrepreneur and Managing Director of the Cary Innovation Center.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

I bring a view from the Entrepreneurship / Startups world and am an advocate for the Open Economy (Open Data, Open Source, etc). I really like participating in programs like CfA where there is a robust nature of experimentation at the fringes. I will bring an entrepreneurial business development focus to the NAC.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

First, I would like to help develop the BAT program into a vibrant offering of CfA. Second, I would like to evaluate developing a Brigade model that may encompass more of the brigade diversity that exists in the network - What are the core functions as a subset for all brigades and then what are the options to address the diversity. Things like a brigade that is 1) located in the State or County Capital, or a satellite member of a region 2) Large or small, 3) mostly Tech vs. Non-Tech attendees, 4) serving an Urban / Rural / Suburban area, etc. Maybe something like developing personas for brigades and then providing a suggested structure, projects, partner organizations, etc. as the result of a set of selections.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

I am fortunate that Code for Cary currently has a strong leadership team so I only spend 2-4 hours / month now with our Brigade. The more interesting question is how I will balance an additional responsibility with my businesses (Technology Tank and Cary innovation Center) my participation on non-profit boards (The Carying Place as VP) and other civic and entrepreneurial efforts (Open NC Collaborative Rural/Urban Civic Divide project, Morrisville Startup program, LaunchCARY entrepreneurial program, OpenStreetMap, Creative Commons, etc). I tend to get involved in many things, but they all tend to be synergistic...

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

Cary is a very diverse community and our brigade is fairly diverse with the people who attend. That said, Cary is diverse culturally and ethnically but not socio-economically. One major effort we are taking this year with the Open NC Collaborative Brigade is to work on the Rural/Urban Civic Tech divide. I regularly participate with non-profits that deal with the bottom end of the socio-economic scale especially with the homeless and pre-homeless.

Gregory Johnson

Code for Miami

Gregory is a Technical Product Manager and IT Project Management Consultant who specializes in Health IT. He was a member of Code for Miami in 2013 and focused his civic technology efforts on data visualization of city budget data.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

I want to see more diversity and inclusion in Civic Technology. I see my contribution to the civic tech community as in using non-technical skills like project management and software product management to help scale projects. I think a challenge we see is ideas that are delivered but not sustainable. I seek to use my work to help create more sustainable projects in the Civic Tech world. I see my next contribution as one in addressing local needs for health insurance in Miami specifically health benefits and workforce development.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

I think NAC has contributed a lot to address issues in the network. There are more projects than people and one problem I am concern about using the network to scale open-source projects. For example, expanding CourtBot and deploying it to different areas. I think a hot topic now is scaling projects that CFA is working on, but moving ahead of CFA. For instance seeing synergies in the work they do in Integrated Benefits, Criminal Justice, and the Talent Initiative. Using the network to address problems CFA is focused on to see if it can create impact locally.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

I look at NAC members like Chris Alfano who focus was on infrastructure and serves at Code for Philly. The average time expressed to serve in NAC is about 10/hours a month. I am not a Code for Miami Brigade Capitan but a core team member who leads the project. I have seen the brigade become its own non-profit and that relationship with leadership gives me the flexibility to serve at NAC while contributing to my local brigade.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

Code for Miami is diverse and inclusive because that's the type of city we are. What my position with NAC and Network could offer is more opportunities to bring leaders in from other places to speak and share their experience with our brigade. Those added perspectives could help us grow and keep the brigade engaged. To foster a diverse and inclusive community I have helped work with several developer meetups, community organizations, and non-profits in the tight-knit yet growing Miami Technology community. For example, organizing events at Space Called Tribe which focused on helping minority entrepreneurs who are PoC or from the Caribbean. Or by attending or pitching projects to PoC Developer/Designer group DevNoir which I am a member of.

Nina Kin

Hack for LA

I'm currently on NAC and I'm excited to run for another term! I've been co-captain of Hack for LA for 3 years and a Systems Analyst at LA County for 11 years. I'm passionate about improving the way government does tech - it's what I do inside gov AND outside as a volunteer.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

... growing and reinforcing cross-brigade relationships. This will make us stronger and more sustainable by providing moral support, active knowledge sharing, and the chance to expand our impact.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

I'd like to focus on building better governance into our brigades as a way to make the Network sustainable. Many of us don't come from leadership backgrounds and we're learning how to run our groups and projects through trial and error. Let's share those lessons so we don't burn out (potentially taking our brigades down with us).

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

In 2018, I worked on building up the leadership capacity within Hack for LA so that our core team now has 8 members. I trust them to handle things without needing my input. They also know to not let me take on additional assignments. ;)

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

I'm interested in engaging with other organizations, both national and local, to collaborate on events. We're working on increasing our diversity and inclusion in a variety of ways. This year we plan to start up a third hack night in South LA, a very underserved community in LA. We hope to empower residents to address the issues they face in their community through tech and civic engagement. The LA County Board of Supervisors' office is funding our hack night and we're down to finding a suitable space. This past year, I've formed relationships with other organizations that are interested in partnering with us including the Southern California ACLU, our local government Arts agencies, and local government employee associations. This lays the foundation for future events that intersect with communities we didn't have access to in the past.

Carl V. Lewis

OpenSavannah

I'm the founder and Brigade co-captain of OpenSavannah. My professional background is in data visualization, interactive journalism, content strategy, and UX design, but I tend to wear many hats, including, now, community organizer.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

...Encouraging civic tech leaders to focus less on finite digital projects and more on creating agile, human-centric, data-driven mindsets both inside and outside of government. Having founded what quickly has become one of the most active and participatory Brigades in a small city that I was wholly unfamiliar with before moving here, I am of the belief that no city is too small and no community lacks the resources to advocate for local government that puts users at the center, that breaks down departmental silos, and that radically reinvents the way it operates to create a more equitable, accessible, and clever civil society. If elected to serve on NAC, I would help the community mature by developing a shared framework for 'asset-based' community organizing. By cultivating the gifts and talents that already exist in a community --rather than looking outward or to the usual suspects for the ideal mix of technical expertise -- we create more inclusive, sustainable, and scalable solutions.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

The single biggest challenge facing any geographically-distributed network is the effective, timely, structured, yet still personal communication. I applaud the work NAC has done in the past year deploying and nurturing the CfA Discourse forum, which has allowed more organized and fully-fleshed out knowledge sharing and documentation. But I believe there is still more we can do to grow the movement and codify a shared ethos of inclusion and openness, especially in small and midsized cities where it can often feel like you're playing a totally different -- and more daunting -- ballgame than in Brigades in big metro areas. In communities without a significant 'technical' workforce, civic tech requires more radically community-based approaches that acknowledge the hidden talents of all residents.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

For me, service to one's local Brigade should always come before service to the broader network. If you can't effectively lead in your backyard, you probably shouldn't lead on a national scale. Having said that, though, we have been fortunate enough in Savannah to have cultivated a loyal and passionate group of civic fixers from a diverse range of backgrounds who would continue to move the Brigade forward were I to move elsewhere tomorrow. Of course, serving on NAC wouldn't require relocation. And, if anything, serving on NAC would allow me to better lead the local movement by "leading from behind" and allowing others to step up and take on more involved day-to-day leadership responsibilities locally. Civic tech communities cannot, and should not, depend upon the leadership of any one single person. They must be community-led, with shared responsibility and

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

Inclusion of the *entire* community is, in my view, the single most important prerequisite to a successful and sustainable civic tech movement that creates change that sticks. It's also a far more difficult process than projects such as building a web app or wrangling a civic dataset. My organizing work with OpenSavannah has proven this to me over and over again. When someone asks what our biggest project has been as a Brigade, I frequently say, "Community building." While NAC and the Network team have emphasized the need for DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) at great length, what's missing from my point of view is a tactical guide that provides small but actionable steps a community might take to eliminate exclusionary norms. My local work has taught me that while many of these steps toward a more inclusive culture are context-dependent, there are some shared exclusionary norms we espouse that it would be wise to adopt as anti-patterns, in addition to adopting radical inclusion.

Melanie Mazanec

Code for Asheville

I'm currently working as a developer for the City of Asheville and volunteering with Code for Asheville. Previously I worked in cyber security in Chicago and frequented Chi Hack Night. Before that I got my MPA in Cleveland and started a code learning group with Open Cleveland.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

The civic tech movement has marshalled an impressive number of passionate nerds. But given the demographics of the tech industry, a group focused primarily on technology is unlikely to be representative of any community-- let alone the people in that community with the most pressing needs. Brigades have struggled for years with volunteer management. Spending an entire meeting either talking or setting up a Rails environment on slow, free WiFi is an onboarding experience that burns out a new set of would-be members every week. To be more effective, we need to shift our focus away from technology and onto the problems we want to solve. This means expanding our understanding of successful brigade projects to include more data-driven activism. To be more inclusive, we need to shift power into the hands of the people whose problems we want to solve. I would like to figure out how cities and brigades can collaborate and build on the Civic User Testing Group model.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

Though I don't remember who said it first, the NAC has been called "the government of the brigades." This rings true: everything I hear about the NAC echoes what I hear as a city employee. Constituents are "not sure what they do," and wonder, "what do they even do with the feedback that I provide." If the brigade network can figure out what it means to do inclusive, participatory, collaborative, transparent governance, we can make huge strides in understanding the possibilities of government in the information age. Jen Pahlka said in her 2012 TED talk that government can be a platform for innovation and connection. Two of the NAC's stated goals are to "facilitate knowledge sharing across Brigades with consideration for differences in regional priorities" and "establish partnerships with complementary organizations." If the NAC can become a platform for brigades to share and connect, it can cut down on volunteer burnout and help brigades accomplish more of their goals.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

Because I am a city employee, my role with Code for Asheville is twofold. As a volunteer, I serve as our Membership Coordinator to help recruit and retain brigade members. This is a problem that challenges many brigades, so I imagine that serving on the National Advisory Council can only amplify my effectiveness in this role. As a front end developer for the city, I see the brigade as a partner organization that helps us to better understand and serve the needs of our community. I would like to start something like a Civic User Testing Group, though there are modifications that may need to be made for a city of our size. I know from the first design interest group phone call that many people are interested in this problem. Again, this goal would be well served by knowledge sharing. I also work on civic tech projects on the side. I will likely refrain from committing to any additional projects during my time on the NAC, but continue with my existing commitments.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

The high cost of childcare excludes women, who in most households still bear most of the care responsibilities, from many civic engagement functions. As with so many issues, this affects women of color more adversely. One way I have tried to make our brigade more inclusive is to donate some Open NC pitch competition winnings to Code for Asheville to hire a babysitter for monthly community nights. Making babysitting reliably available long-term would create the dependability that caregivers need. Our brigade would benefit from help figuring out how to make this initiative sustainable. I have also been trying to raise awareness about web accessibility. I gave lightning talks at NC Open Pass and Brigade Congress. I am working with colleagues and superiors at the City of Asheville to develop organizational strategies to treat accessibility as holistically and urgently as security. Making accessibility a priority in civic tech would go a long way.

James Mensch

Open Austin

I'm an experienced leader specializing in product and process. I've spent most of my career solving civic issues with tech, most recently as the Director of Engineering at a cybersecurity company and Founder/CEO of company that helps nonprofits use data to make better decisions.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

...by continuing to catalyze civic tech projects towards solutions that are representative of the population and the times, solve real world problems, have follow through, and help those less privileged than ourselves.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

Lack of collaboration across the entire brigade network. After being a part of the Techstars and YC network, I think we're missing an opportunity to surface more impactful projects, create more opportunities for members, and connect members looking to learn with members that want to be mentors. I hope there's the opportunity to bring attention to and be involved in the solution, regardless of my involvement in NAC.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

I'll balance the workload by continuing to be as efficient as I can be and continuing to bring efficiencies I've learned from leading companies to the volunteer organizations I'm a part of. Additionally, I intend to create as much overlap as I can by integrating as many of the best ideas from across the Network into Open Austin as feasible, hopefully leaving my brigade with processes that'll guide the organization after I leave.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

I'm a fairly new addition to my brigade's leadership team, so I haven't had much time to make a measurable impact. A few of the ideas I have for the future that I've seen work are increasing collaboration across brigades, creating a mentorship network targeted at introducing minorities and underprivileged folks to civic tech (and tech in general), collaborating with organizations or meetups that represent minorities, and continuing to be mindful of things that can make the meetup inaccessible for any segments of our community. One of the ways the NAC and Network team can support is by fostering a collaborative environment across brigades and between brigade members and CfA. We need to continue to include as many different perspectives as we can in the conversation in order to find novel ways to include new folks and make sure our community is accessible for them.

Sagar Mishra

Open NC Collaborative

I am a mathematician by formal training and a software systems consultant by trade. I helped found Code for Greensboro and have a passion for starting brigades wherever I go. I believe in the democratization of technology. Information wants to be free.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

...advocating for and getting people involved in civic tech. I believe that the best and most executable ideas will emerge from the cacophony of diverse voices that make up the brigade network. I hope to spread this message and spin up brigades where there are none and become involved where ones exist already. We are still figuring out the gritty details--how to work with each other, how to work distributedly, how to deliver products as a loose volunteer organization. These efforts require new ways of thinking about leadership and project/product management. I hope to contribute to this effort.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

One of the largest problems I believe the NAC should tackle in the next year is how to cast the civic tech net in such a way that it covers rural and rarefied communities. These interstitial spaces are begging for exactly what the Network is putting out, but without a city-center or similar locus these spaces go neglected. Sometimes these communities make the news cycle briefly--like when Hurricane Florence flooded parts of Pender, Carteret, and other eastern NC counties--but once the media moves on, they and their challenges are forgotten.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

I co-founded Code for Greensboro and have helped pass on the co-captain torch to a new cohort of co-captains. I am now looking to spin up a code-for in Wilmington NC. Having been through the founding process before, I feel that I am well suited to attaching a national role to my hyperlocal one. In fact, I feel that a national role will strengthen and lend credibility to my hyperlocal efforts.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

Help us figure out a way that allows community members without a large cognitive surplus to participate in brigade activities. The very nature of brigade meetups means that often only those who are free in the evenings or already have access to technology feel unencumbered to attend our meetings and contribute. We need help partnering with local groups that have extra computers, venues open at diverse times, and potentially even the resources/experience engaging members of the community. The work I have done in this area is far too isolated. It's knocking on doors and ringing phones and asking other community organizations if they will help--either provide a venue for us to meet or send people who care about various issues our way. Code for America is simply a brand and not one we can often even leverage effectively since 99% of the time we have to explain what it is. And then when asked, what do you do, we list off various projects/products like SoCalFresh that don't register locally.

Sabrah n'haRaven

Code for Asheville

I'm co-captain of Code for Asheville and a local advocate for transit and low-income equity. Before moving here, I worked in proposal production and as a scientific and medical copyeditor for government and nonprofit clients. Personally, I identify as queer, pagan, and Aspie.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

Growing up? I don't think so. I think it's at that preteen level where it THINKS it's grown up but hasn't faced the real challenges yet, where it's only just starting to examine itself and figure out what truly matters and what's surface. But I believe those challenges are coming, soon. I think our world is going to change a lot over the next decade and that the brigades will have an important role in helping our communities weather those changes. And I want to help us prepare. I want to help us support each other so that we can better support our towns. People I respect have called me a "thought catalyst" and "the person to ask the hard questions." I hope I can do that for the brigades and the national office, encourage people to think deeply and carefully about what really does matter and how their actions align with their intent. I think the future will make us grow up far faster than anything I or the NAC could do, but I'd like to help us grow with more grace and less flailing.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

For me, the most important role of the NAC is helping brigades to build resilience and capacity, so that they're not dependent on a few overburdened leaders who have limited resources and perspectives to draw on and could burn out at any time. I want to see brigades that are leader-full, able to nurture lots of sparkling people with diverse backgrounds and talents, able to weave not a web of skills but a trampoline, so that our brigades and our cities can bounce back from whatever the future throws at us. I want to see brigades that have both the rooted stability to hold steady and the flexibility to shift with the wind, to meet the problems of today, not what we thought today's problems were going to be yesterday. To build that capacity and resilience, we need more and better options for sharing information between brigades, without relying on centralized channels or on ones that exclude the communities we're trying to help. Communications have to come first or nothing can follow.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

My civic work is my job (unpaid though it is), so I won't have employment competing for my time, just my other advocacy, which often overlaps with my brigade work. I also have a co-captain and great former and future captains, so we're able to share the brigade work. And strengthening the network IS strengthening my brigade, so I don't see them as competing interests. I won't pretend that the additional work isn't a concern for me -- I'm juggling plenty of plates already. In an ideal world, I'd want to get our transit master plan funded and implemented first. I'd want to finish hashing out the details of our brigade infrastructure, increase and diversify our membership, and start sending tendrils out to our rural neighbors. I'd like more time to learn about other brigades and what they need and want. But we all have a million things we'd like to do, and there's never enough time to prepare. The future isn't going to wait for us to be ready. We have to walk into it, ready or not.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

Hah! If this had a simple answer, we'd all have fewer problems. I'm proud of the work my brigade has done (that I can't take credit for) in reaching out to and working with diverse groups, especially Homeless Voice. We try to keep our meetings accessible and now offer free childcare so more women can attend. And my brigade members have been fantastic about supporting me in participating despite my bad legs, lack of money, and obsolete tech skills. But all of our active members are still white and I'm the first woman co-captain. We've got a good mix of ages, but our active membership isn't very diverse otherwise. And no amount of recruiting can counter the fact our city is getting whiter every day; we can't recruit people who aren't there, or who are too fed up with the government to even talk to us. So I don't have an answer for this. And that's okay. Because the NAC shouldn't be handing out answers. It should be listening and helping brigades find the answers together.

Andrew Nelson

Code for Jersey City, BetaNYC

Since about 2009, I've been engaged with the broader civic tech community, including a handful of CfA brigades (formerly co-captain of Open Austin). As an organizer, PM, designer, and researcher, I would like to help our brigades get more organized, particularly around ethics.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

I'll help it continue to mature by enhancing its relationship to the broader civic tech community. One of CfA's strengths is that is has solid top-down as well as bottom-up organization, but sometimes there are difficulties in reconciling these two directions of power, identity, and organization. As a member of other organizations who have also had these experiences, I would like to apply what I've learned there to CfA. I've seen power enhanced by collaborating with other organizations; identity enhanced by not just codifying but enacting inclusiveness and diversity; and brilliant organization in "not leaderless, but leaderful" decentralized and distributed organizations. As the civic tech community matures, we need to ensure both our intra- and inter-organizational values are strengthened and validated by the people we seek to organize.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

From businesses, government, and the civic tech community have come passive and active threats to the ethical and appropriate use and development of technology. Civic tech is ethical tech. If brigades are to be a bottom-up organization of tech workers, we must do a lot of work to ensure it is done ethically. Other organizations like D4D experienced this and respond by ensuring community reviews of both the intention and possible effects of their work. We've seen discussions in our own channels of how the CfA community has experienced conflicts with government and community entities, as well as issues of tech ("hacks") as foregone conclusions to social and political problems. So I would like to form an ethics-oriented BAT to gathering knowledge and contextualize it to our community. We can formulate that knowledge as informational and advisory material for brigades to act both proactively and reflexively regarding ethics in our work.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

My local brigades are Code for Jersey City and BetaNYC. The former is currently being rebuilt after a long hiatus and currently has no active community, though I intend to help grow it once the organizers are ready. The latter is a unique brigade in that it has a very lean operations membership that conducts highly targeted work, rather than supporting a more open "hack night" or project-oriented community like many other brigades. So I am a member of both, but not able to feel active within it. However, I am very active in local non-CfA organizations similar to a brigade. In that sense, I will continue being as active (about 2-4 active hours per week) but not take on further responsibilities there so that I can ensure enough time to conduct the work I have planned as part of the NAC and ethics BAT. I also see many opportunities to share between both communities, so healthy and balanced participation in both would be better than committing to only one at my current activity level.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

Most of my work lately has been with Progressive Hack Night, a local organization of tech workers organizing direct actions around progressive issues. That includes doing data science, protests, hacktivism, lobbying, and building a successful prescription drug disposal app with the state government. Our diverse membership has allowed us to be effectively active in all these spaces and not just focused on coding. Leading us are a highly effective and diverse team of directors that have committed to and acted on our inclusive values in person and online. I intend to mirror that in an ethics-oriented BAT, in a governance-oriented NAC role, and in helping brigades achieve the same commitment and actions to those values of diversity and inclusiveness. I would love the Network team's and NAC's advisement in how to both codify and enact that in the most appropriate way possible for each of our brigades.

Mohith Rao

Open STL (St. Louis)

Hello! I am a recent college grad (May 2018) and currently work as a software developer at Anheuser Busch. I have been involved with the brigade for the last three years. For the past year, I have served as the brigade's captain.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

By getting more people in the government informed on what civic tech is and how it can benefit them as well as the people they serve. I feel like in mid to small sized cities, civic tech is happening somewhat independent of the "progress" of government. By getting more government people (whatever that means) on board we can integrate the two so that both can use one another to grow faster and better.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

I want the NAC to offer more resources on how brigades should interact with each local government. Something I faced when I became captain was that I didnt know what role Open STL played in our goverment's routine. Were we just consultants? Were we direct software developers for government? How did we fit into and interact with community? For the most part, it falls on each brigade to forge answers to each of the above quesions however guidance from established brigades in the network and CFA would be a great help.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

Continue using my schedule and effectively use tools that can keep track of my tasks. If absolutely needed, I have a core team at Open STL that can cover and take care of some tasks for me so I can focus on my NAC tasks.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

I was a part of our brigade's rebranding from OpenDataSTL to OpenSTL. From the feedback of the community, the rebranding really helped change the image of the org from "a bunch of coders working with data" to "a community of civic minded people with light emphasis in technology."

Kehontas S Rowe

Code for Kentuckiana (Louisville)

Kehontas is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. Kehontas has a BA in Technology, Arts and Society from Mills College, an MSc in Cyber and Information Security, a Ph.D. candidate in Business Analytics and Decision Sciences and works as a Data Analyst for Kentucky Youth Advocates

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

I will continue to help the Civic Technical community by honing my skills as a data professional as well as my personal and professional civic engagement contributions. For example I am a 2019 New Leader Council fellow which is a training organization to groom progressive leadership. I have also stepped away from my corporate job to work as Data Analyst for a policy organization serving youth _ Kentucky Youth Advocates, and pursuing my PhD in Business Analytics and Decision Sciences - a data driven academic endeavour. These are current examples of how I am willing to contribute to the community on multiple levels. My past also represents this type of engangement and I foresee my efforts only growing greater in the futuree as I have moree to contribute and learn where I can make the greatest impact with my passion and skills.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

The only issue I see in my local chapter is the lack of diversity on the board, I hope to be a part of the that as the we move forward. Nationally as a new member I don't have anything to report.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

Time management is a key component of any endeavor. I have a very balanced work life that is mapped out with the help of google calendars and being able to work a very flexible part time job. As this is a role I am very excited about and hold high on the priority list there will always be time. I see this as an opportunity to be better in my local role.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

As an self identified queer black women - masculine of center - coming from a financially challenged background one way I have helped is by stepping up and taking a leadership role in order to lead by example. I am hoping to leverage my identity and organic networks to make NAC and CFK (Code for Kentuckiana) an organization that welcomes inclusion.

James Timberlake

Code For Orlando

I am passionate about impacting my community. I volunteer helping kids build battle robots to inspire creativity and passion. I'd like to help change the way people interact with their community and their government by helping the ideas empowered by our passionate community.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

...focusing on creating processes where brigades can see the impact of their efforts through researching providing tools and knowledge that promote successful organizational and product delivery strategies.=f

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

Organizing brigades at a national level while maintaining autonomy can be a tricky issue. A solution to this is to have more communication channels with other brigades and promote projects that are noticeably making impacts to their community and encouraging other brigades to do the same.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

I will add 50% more time from my current time allotment per month and dedicate those hours to the council.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

One of the things our meetups may struggle with is getting a diverse number of people whose profession doesn't stem from a pure technology perspective. The projects we engage in require a multitude of skills and we need to objectively portray that.

Benjamin E Trevino

Code for Hawaii

Aloha! I am a sustainability planner working for the city of Honolulu with a focus on fairness and equity, a degree in computer science, and a passion for film and the arts. I'm a recent CFA community fellow, I launched our city's bikeshare system and taught a bootcamp on data.

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

...advocating for indigenous concepts of technology. Cultures like the Native Hawaiians (who exhibited spectacularly sophisticated aquaculture, horticulture and permaculture systems) embrace a very different approach to technology than the one espoused by startups and silicon valley. People talk about making things that are useful to people, but Hawaiians developed a whole culture supporting that type of ingenuity.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

Making civic tech a movement that makes more people feel like they belong. Most people who could be a part of this movement — government partners, community organizers, concerned citizens, probably have a hard time recognizing this as a place for them. Onboarding and creating pathways for new civic tech recruits is something that I think the NAC could address effectively at the Network level.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

Geographically Honolulu is isolated and proportionally we are small, but culturally we are world class and our civic and urban challenges are some of the most powerful examples in the world. Gathering those perspectives at the brigade and local level and bringing them up in conversations with my civic tech colleagues around the country and then bringing that feedback back is one of the best ways I can think of to serve my brigade and the overall network.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

I believe diversity and inclusion in civic tech, needs to start with creating a lot of space for non-techies. In order to build "with, not for" our brigades need to be safe and supporting spaces for all and only a small proportion of us have technical backgrounds. Tools that cultivate and reinforce curiosity can be a service offered by the NAC and network team (and serve as access points to the digital principles that are the hallmark of the civic tech movement). My fellowship project, the Sustainable Mobility Lab, has been experimenting with cultivating collective curiosity around sustainability and transportation.

Isaac Wang

Open San Diego

Urban Planner | Activist | Technocrat | Geospatial Entrepreneur | Political Junkie | US Naval Officer | Suspiciously Communist with Chinese Characteristics |

The civic tech community is growing up, and I'll help it continue to mature by...

creating the necessary relationships with GOVERNMENT. There's currently an imbalance between technologists (Programmers, Designers, Data Scientists, etc) and government folks within the Brigades. Very few people understand how government works, how they procure software, and how they generate demand for tech solutions that address a policy shortfall. The feedback loop is either broken or non-existent between elected officials and citizens in determining the needs for digital delivery of government. If Brigades build tech solutions without demand signals from the citizens and without the support from local officials, it's not going anywhere. As someone with urban planning experience, I've had the misfortune of interfacing with government regularly. As someone who is very active politically, I understand the necessary channels for getting Code for America brigades tactical support and cover from local government officials.

What do you see as a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year?

Every brigade has strengths and weaknesses. I believe some have much stronger tech talent than others, and others have much stronger government folks embedded. I believe each Brigade needs an honest self-assessment of these strengths and weaknesses, document it centrally, and have the NAC actively work to plug each other's holes through collaboration between brigades. In short, match.com for brigades with the NAC as matchmakers.

How will you balance your work with your local Brigade with serving on the National Advisory Council?

As a community organizer, I've empowered my Brigade to function in self-organized committees without significant top-down operation oversight. My job has always been to build the connections with local + state government to provide air support. Everything I do for NAC will be a tide that lifts all boats, including my local brigade.

How can the NAC and the Network team support your efforts to make your brigade more diverse and inclusive? Can you speak to what work you've already done in this area?

In urban planning, we bring diverse stakeholders to the table for any design intervention. (Ex. Bike lanes are surprisingly contentious, and we have to consider input from civil + transportation engineers, neighborhood planning groups, community activists, local officials, local businesses, etc.) There are standard requirements for outreach to ensure a more inclusive process. Are they still woefully inadequate? YES, but it can be mitigated with better outreach techniques that leverage modern technology !!! I've already made urban planners and activists a significant part of our brigades by holding meetings at architecture firms and urban planning schools to get those diverse viewpoints. San Diego is at the border of US/Mexico and a huge hub for refugee communities (E African, SE Asia, MENA); so we have a high density of organizations dedicated to under-served communities. We've made modernizing outreach techniques a priority, and we've embedded inclusion as a meeting requirement.