The Mayor and Seattle City Council recently announced the initial 13 appointees selected to serve on the City of Seattle’s new Community Involvement Commission (CIC). The CIC will ultimately be comprised of 16 equity champions who will work to ensure that our City departments are creating and implementing equitable engagement strategies that lead to more relevant and impactful public participation. They will also provide feedback on the development of City departments’ community involvement plans. All the appointments are subject to City Council confirmation.
Mayoral Appointee: At-large Member
Jenna Franklin has worked in strategic communications, community outreach, and public engagement since 2001. Much of her work has focused on increasing equity and engagement in public process and/or on public projects. She spent two years working as a Communications and Outreach Specialist for Sound Transit, where she saw firsthand the difficulties around issues that involve a variety of jurisdictions and agencies. She now works as an outreach consultant for a communications firm for whom she has been developing a Race and Social Justice Initiative outreach model. Her past outreach and engagement work has allowed her to build strong relationships with a wide variety of community-based organizations throughout Seattle.
What inspired you to serve on the Community Involvement Commission?
Diversity is an incredible asset, and I believe great community building happens through engagement. My hope is that the Community Involvement Commission can help close the inclusion gap that exists in public process; diversity of thought and experience is vital to creating outcomes that balance and reflect the needs of people from all demographic groups. I was inspired to serve because I’m worried about the voices and perspectives that are absent or under-leveraged in conversations that greatly impact the future of Seattle and all the people who live and work here.
We’ve taken to calling our Community Involvement Commissioners “EQUITY CHAMPIONS!” Do you accept this superhero moniker and what does it mean to you personally?
We have so many incredible equity champions across the city working hard to use the principles of social justice and equity to influence how Seattle evolves, and how we as a City take care of all the people who live here! I see working as an equity champion as an opportunity to collaborate with Seattle’s other equity superheroes, and be part of a citywide effort to create a more just and inclusive Seattle.
What is your unique real-life superpower?
I’ve learned that my real-life superpower is being able to use my love of conversation and my inherent curiosity to connect with people. I love talking to people and learning about who they are. I have a distinct interest in understanding how a person’s experiences impact them. I love my superpower – it reveals the remarkable and interesting things around me.
What do you hope the Community Involvement Commission will bring to the City?
I believe bringing different people together in new and innovative ways to address some of the tough issues ahead should be an evident part of the character of all public agencies, and visible at the core of solutions they generate. I hope the Community Involvement Commission will bring a sense of servant leadership, show that city government is something we all have the right to be part of, and demonstrate through actions how inclusive processes create innovative results.
Which local organization or person do you consider to be a true superhero and why?
I am a big fan of Technology Access Foundation for their youth engagement work; they have created an incredible model of empowerment and opportunity that creates real shifts in young people’s lives.
Learn more about the Community Involvement Commission at seattle.gov/neighborhoods/community-involvement-commission.