Company: Amplify Charlotte
Position: Founder and President
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN CHARLOTTE AREA?
Since the Carolina Panthers moved here in 1995, so for 24 years
TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOU.
I am a dot collector and a dot connector. I am a self-proclaimed relationship curator and growing up in charlotte, I was always curious about the growth and change happening around me. I am affectionately known by some, in the arts community, as “the feds”. Long story short, I have made quite a name for myself as a local government professional and community advocate having worked for both the city and county in my career; and always helping people streamline the pathway to true civic engagement. I grew up in Charlotte and attended Harding University High School on the city’s west side, so I have a love for black southern tradition and culture. This is why I cringe when people say Charlotte has no culture. I am also well known in the non-profit and urban development spaces. I love to travel and eat good food; like most people. But unlike most people, I will start an argument at the drop of a dime when people talk down on my hometown; often driving the Yankees and ATLiens back to where they came from. Charlotte is home.
DURING YOUR TIME VOLUNTEERING FOR A COMMUNITY ACTIVITY OR PROJECT, WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT?
The neighborhood president from Optimist Park approached me one evening where I was listening in on their neighborhood meeting. She asked me to read a crumpled letter half-opened letter that I immediately recognized as a City Zoning letter. I took a look at the letter. There was a map with her house pointed out and some symbols as well as blocks of jargon filled text. Distraught, I told her Wow I couldn’t read this. I’ll have to take it back to the office to figure out what it all means. If you’re familiar with Optimist Park, it’s located off the plaza towards Parkwood Drive and I-277 and immediately across the street from a new light rail stop. This letter that Ms. Pamela received was actually a zoning letter stating that the lot adjacent to her backyard would be zoned for multifamily. Ms. Pamela who lived in Optimist Park for years couldn’t decipher what it was and I, a ten-year local government veteran and MPA grad couldn’t figure it out either. I decided at that moment that it needed to be easier than this. Gaining access to public information should be easier. That is the reason I started Amplify Charlotte. Meeting her changed the trajectory of my life and hopefully will change charlotte in the long run.
IN YOUR OPINION, HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY? PLEASE BE AS DETAILED AS YOU CAN.
I contribute to the community as a relationship curator and an overall listener. I listen to people’s needs and try my best to connect them to the resources that would work best for them. I have served on at least a dozen boards and committees to give back to the community including but not limited to:
• Community Building Initiative (CBI) Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) in 2016
• Served on the community investment council for the united way from 2015-2018
• Served as the youngest person appointed to the keep charlotte beautiful advisory board at age 23
• Worked as an intern at the city of charlotte manager’s office before, during and after the democratic national convention in 2012. I was the only intern working at that level having a direct impact on convention activities. I was responsible for keeping track of media contacts and I helped coordinate free speech parade routes throughout the week.
PLEASE LET US KNOW ANY AWARDS OR RECOGNITIONS YOU’VE RECEIVED IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER:
• 30 Under 30 Honoree Black Chamber of Commerce 2017
• Public service young professional of the year finalist 2017
• Steven D. Young emerging professional awarded by NFBPA (National Forum for Black Public Administrators) in 2018.
• Emerging city champion fellowship $5,000 grant from the Knight Foundation awarded in 2018
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OR INTEREST?
I enjoy graphic design as a hobby. I like to make flyers for small group meet ups and I love learning about new font types and design tools. I am a product of a multicultural sorority, so diversity has always been a big theme in my friendships and self-exploration.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE THAT YOU STAND BY?
“Service is the rent we pay to live on this earth” – Shirley Chisholm
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS? 10 YEARS?
In five years, I want to be working full time in my business, amplify charlotte unless I am working for a progressive city and in 10 years, at age 40 I aim to be the city manager of a progressive world-class city.
CAN YOUR SHARE ONE THING THAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
I would really love to visit the Grand Canyon while it’s still an American marvel.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU USED YOUR PASSPORT?
June 2018 to travel to Toronto for the Emerging City Champions lab as a knight fellow
WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NO ONE KNOWS?
I am not that interesting….
WHO IS YOUR HERO?
My mother is my hero. She raised my brother and I in a new city away from her family. She is also a registered nurse who saves lives daily.
WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?
The Dip by Seth Godin
WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?
The new “Shaft” movie. It was really well done since the original John Shaft, Samuel L. Jackson, was in the movie.
WHAT WAS THE LAST CONCERT YOU SAW?
Essence festival in New Orleans over Fourth of July weekend; Pharrell Williams did a 30-minute set. It was phenomenal.