The Seattle City Council confirmed Andrés Mantilla as the director of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Andrés has been serving as interim director of our department since May.
Now that it’s all official, we thought this would be a good time to tell you a bit more about him. 🙂
What neighborhood do you call home: Highland Park
What makes Highland Park special: It’s a diverse neighborhood with great neighbors. I love the access to transit, green spaces, and parks. It’s also very kid-friendly which, as the parent of a young child, I appreciate!
Favorite place in Seattle: Both professionally and personally, I love South Park. I’ve spent a lot of time there working on community revitalization as part of the South Park Action Agenda. There’s great diversity there along with a residential mix, small businesses, and manufacturing. And, as a fluent Spanish-speaker, I’m drawn to the Spanish-speaking community in the neighborhood.
Go-to coffee order: Double-shot Americano, no room.
More about Andrés
Andrés first joined the City in 2008 as a member of Mayor Greg Nickels’ community outreach team. In this role he served as a liaison to a number of neighborhood, business, and other interest groups in the Seattle area. After nearly two years in this role, Andrés was tasked with designing, organizing, and implementing the City’s South Park Bridge Response Plan as a Community Capacity Manager in the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. During this time, he supported the implementation of over 165 neighborhood improvement projects that were part of the South Park Action Agenda and developed a more inclusive outreach model for minority-owned businesses and service organizations in South Seattle.
Building on this work, Andrés moved to the Seattle Office of Economic Development in 2011 where he worked to connect small businesses with government resources and programs while helping immigrant and refugee businesses receive equitable access to information, capital, and other opportunities.
In 2014, interested in exploring new approaches for community engagement and development work, Andrés left the City to pursue opportunities in the private sector. But, owing to his deep sense of commitment to civic affairs, Andrés was delighted when he was invited to lead Mayor Durkan’s External Outreach team. This May, he was asked by Mayor Durkan to serve as the Interim Director of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.
Andrés’ service to Seattle has not been limited to municipal government. In addition to having served as the Chair of the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs, he was the Vice President of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and a board member of One America Votes.
On Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
Andrés is excited about the opportunity to advance public policy in an inclusive, equitable, and community building way and to build on the work that has already been done by the staff. Through the powerful tool of community engagement and outreach, he sees a great deal of potential to elevate community voices throughout the City.
On future goals
Andrés sees a clear role for the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods to help lower barriers to civic participation and build equity in our communities. He sees the department helping Seattle’s communities do community-building as they define it and work to bring voices and perspectives to City Hall as decisions and policies are being made. “Now, more than ever,” said Andrés, “there should be power and agency in community building and collective voice. I am excited for the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods to be a partner in elevating these voices for positive change.”