Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement Welcomes Two New Directors
The new hires will lead the Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement and Office of Youth Engagement
PHILADELPHIA — The Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement today announced the hiring of Eric Westbrook, Director for the Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement, and Jeanette Bavwidinsi, Director for the Office of Youth Engagement.
The Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement is charged with improving the City’s community outreach and engagement efforts. The Office works to make City government accessible to all Philadelphians and to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. Both the Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement (OBME) and Office of Youth Engagement (OYE) are part of the larger Mayor’s Office for Public Engagement.
“Engaging Philadelphia residents is critical to the work we do in City government,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The average Philadelphian needs to feel connected to what is going on in City Hall, and they need to be aware of the decisions that are being made every day that impact their lives. The Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement—through the various offices and commissions housed within it—is helping our administration to make those connections. I am thrilled to welcome Eric and Jeanette to the team, and look forward to working with them as they bring diverse voices to the table to represent these two key constituencies.”
The Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement works to close the opportunity divide for men and boys of color. OBME also supports the efforts of the Mayor’s Commission on African American Males and coordinates My Brother’s Keeper Philadelphia, a program that aims to dismantle systems of inequality.
The Office of Youth Engagement supports the efforts of the Philadelphia Youth Commission and the Millennial Advisory Committee. Both of these groups aim to give young people the chance to develop leadership skills, bridge gaps between generations, and suggest ways for City government to better serve its residents.
“Both Eric and Jeanette bring a service background, demonstrated engagement experience, and infectious enthusiasm to their new roles,” said Ajeenah Amir, Director for the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement. “Their past experiences will be vital as they begin their work to strengthen connections between Philadelphians and City government. While they will be focused on two different constituent groups, Eric and Jeanette will play an important role in representing the voices of populations that can sometimes be underrepresented and overlooked in government.”
Eric Westbrook, Director for the Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement, spent seven years of his career at the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) prior to taking on this role with the City. At CCP, Eric worked to improve graduation and retention rates for male students of color. He coordinated recruitment efforts for the Center for Male Engagement, partnering with dozens of schools, community-based organizations, businesses, and nonprofit agencies. With nearly 20 years of experience in social service, Eric understands the need to bridge individuals and communities to available resources. He brings a wide range of skills in strategic planning and networking, as well as an eternal optimism from life coaching, supervising after-school programs, and direct service work. Eric received his bachelor’s degree in social work from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.
“I am excited to join the Kenney administration and take on this new challenge leading the Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement,” said Eric Westbrook, Director for the Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement. “In a city like Philadelphia that is experiencing great success and increased attention from the rest of the world, for black men and boys, it can often seem as though these things are happening without us. I want to ensure that we have a seat at the table, and I look forward to serving as a liaison between our community and the administration.”
Jeanette Bavwidinsi, Director for the Office of Youth Engagement, most recently served as the Volunteer Engagement Manager in the Office of Civic Engagement & Volunteer Service, where she led the creation and launch of the City’s annual Summer of Service Initiative that connects Philadelphia youth with curated volunteer and service opportunities. Jeanette was also instrumental in supporting the work of the Mayor’s Volunteer Corps and Civic Engagement Academies. She is the recipient of the New Era Tip of the Cap Award from the Philadelphia 76ers for her outstanding service to the community, and a proud member of the Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority Inc. Jeanette calls herself “a millennial on a mission,” and brings an unrivaled level of passion and enthusiasm to her work with youth and young adults. She received her bachelor’s degree in communications from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
“Historically, young people have been shut out of institutions of power—including government,” said Jeanette Bavwidinsi, Director for the Office of Youth Engagement. “Their voices are just as important as any other resident, and it is a great honor for me to make sure they are represented within this administration. I hope that my previous experience with City government and relationships with various youth-serving organizations will be an asset to the Office and the commissions I’ll oversee in this role. Our young people are the future leaders of this city, so it is essential that we are preparing them to be active members of their communities.”
Headshots for Eric Westbrook and Jeanette Bavwidinsi are available upon request.