Building and Maintaining an Equity Mindset in Local Government

Recorded On: 07/28/2020

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The time to address systemic inequality through deliberative equity programming in local government is now. Specifically, as events have shown, again and again, it is imperative to address racial inequity, in all facets of local government. As local governments sharpen their existing focus on social justice and racial equity or want to explore how to start, ICMA is hosting a 90-minute webinar on how to implement, manage, and maintain an equity-focused mindset in organizations. The webinar will feature equity professionals in the local government, focusing on the present and future of equity work with ideas on challenges, experiences, and tools for how to build equity programs.

Topics we will cover:

  • What is a chief equity officer?
  • Implementing an equity focus with a small budget and staff
  • Benefits of having an equity mindset in local government
  • Challenges equity ambassadors overcome
  • Getting support/resources (buy-in) from leadership (governing body, CAO, department heads, etc.)
  • Doing this work in big and small communities
  • Identifying your top equity issues (where are the biggest challenges)
  • Overcoming community challenges (leadership is interested, but the public isn’t)

Jonathan Butler

Equity Manager

Jonathan Butler is currently serving as an Equity Manager for the City of San Antonio. Tasked with supporting the success of the Office of Equity and the successful implementation of equity initiatives citywide, Jonathan works to promote and measure the impact of social justice policies, practices and procedures throughout City departments.

Prior to joining the City of San Antonio, Jonathan’s lifelong interest in public service led him to Chattanooga, TN to join the Department of Economic and Community Development as an Affordable Housing Specialist where he worked to establish policies and initiatives to preserve and produce affordable housing. He also helped create Chattanooga’s Land Bank Authority, and was later promoted to Manager of the Neighborhood Services and Development Division, a position that maximized his 20 years of experience cultivating relationships with diverse constituencies and his ability to bring people together to solve problems.

As a seasoned attorney, his experience includes serving as Managing Attorney of two multi-million dollar practice groups, working with for profit and non-profit entities on increasing organizational capacity, issues-based advocacy, messaging and communications, diversity and anti-harassment training, and employee dispute resolution. He has created workforce incentive programs, implemented 360 degree performance evaluations for team leaders, supervisors, and attorneys, and assisted with the strategic planning, recruitment, and the successful procurement of multi-state contracts.

Jonathan has received awards from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, and is an inaugural member of the Urban League’s Inclusion by Design executive leadership training program and the Leadership Tennessee Next Program. He serves on a number of non-profit boards and is a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, GA where he completed his Bachelor of Arts in English and served as the Emory Alumni Board President. He also received his Juris Doctorate from American University’s Washington College of Law, and is a licensed attorney in Virginia and Georgia. Jonathan is a gifted public speaker, avid golfer, lover of live music, and a poet known to occasionally grace the microphone at local spoken word events.

Anita Jones-McNair

Director of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Resources/Race and Equity Officer, Town of Carrboro, North Carolina

Since 2003, Anita has been Director of Recreation Parks and Cultural Resources for Carrboro, NC and more recently appointed the Town’s Race and Equity Officer having the distinct pleasure of serving in both roles.  Carrboro is a member of GARE (Government Alliance for Race and Equity) and Anita serves as the Town’s Lead.  She is a Board member for the National Recreation and Parks Ethnic Minority Society and serves on the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.  Prior to moving to North Carolina, she worked in Dallas and Plano, TX tasked with related work.  The majority of her career has been in local government improving the quality of life for citizens.  She takes pride in finding solutions to improve community services and engagement looking through a racial equity lens.  

Karen Pinkos

City Manager, City of El Cerrito, CA; ICMA Past President

Karen Pinkos is the City Manager for the City of El Cerrito. A native of Michigan, Karen has over 20 years of experience in professional management, beginning her public sector career in the City of Oak Park, Michigan before joining El Cerrito in 2001. She is passionate about local government and is dedicated to promoting professional, efficient, ethical management in California, across the country, and around the world.

Siri Russell

Director, Office of Equity & Inclusion, Albemarle County, VA

Siri Russell is the inaugural Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion for Albemarle County, VA.  Russell partners with other local government departments, community organizations, and individuals to promote inclusive community and equitable access to public services by creating alignment between equity & inclusion and the operations of the organization. 


07/28/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  90 minutes
07/28/2020 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  90 minutes
Mobile Friendly Webinar
Recorded 07/28/2020
Recorded 07/28/2020 This recording of the webinar can be viewed on mobile devices.
Evaluation Survey
15 Questions
1.50 ICMA CE credits  |  Certificate available
1.50 ICMA CE credits  |  Certificate available