Showing posts with label Profiles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Profiles. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

September Profile: Tori Scarborough

Obama Appointee Tori Scarborough -- Shines Her Light!
By Ruth Marshall, BWFO4Change/DC

After scheduling and rescheduling appointments for over a month, Tori Scarborough and I finally hooked up for a refreshing, down-to-earth and heart-to-heart conversation. Tori is an Obama Administration “Schedule C” Presidential Appointee at the U.S. Department of Health And Human Services.

When we finally connected, almost instantly I knew I was talking to a well-grounded and self-confident young woman who has no doubt about what she wants and where she wants to go. I am sure that my sense of her over-all peaceful countenance is one of her outstanding qualities that most ardently register with everyone she encounters. Tori’s high energy created excitement as we delved into her professional background, educational pursuits and personal decisions that have guided her to attain and experience some of her dreams.

Tori took me step-by-step on how in 2007 she sent in a last minute, on-line application to work with then Senator Barack Obama and how that decision launched her into the political arena where she is now. As she moved from the Senator’s office to the Presidential Campaign she pursued logical steps that provided her a variety of opportunities and honed her skills as an organizer/scheduler for State and local campaign events.

For a year, Tori worked directly under Secretary Janet Napolitano at the Department of Homeland Security where she was the Secretary’s Advance Representative traveling all around the country. In this position, she worked closely with Secret Service agents, Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents as well as other DHS components. This path culminated with a Presidential appointment to the Department of Health and Human Services as Surrogate Scheduler for the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.

We laughed out loud as Tori described the close-knit family she grew up in and their focus on education. A southerner of Charlotte, North Carolina, she and her older brother played out the proverbial, yet healthy, competiveness characteristic of a sibling pair. Her undergraduate studies began at Bethune-Cookman College where she formed close relationships with other aspiring young African American students from across the country.

As with so many others who attend Historically Black College and University’s Tori found herself in an environment that fostered direct and personal relationships with her professors, who continuously supported and helped her to build a strong professional foundation. Her college education included a “Study Abroad” program in Madrid, Spain at Colegio de Mayor Antonio Nebrija. And, she earned a B.A. in Speech Communication -- Summa Cum Laude!

Super intelligence aside, Tori has an awesome outlook on life and exudes an overall sense of calmness and inner peace about her. I got the feeling that her self-assuredness comes from deep within her, a “sixth sense” that she listens to that directs her path. Yes, she has a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Howard University but her aura goes beyond religion and rests more in the spiritual realm. She admits that a lot of major decisions come to her as a gentle push into her life’s purpose and this “spiritual push” omits the need for hand wrangling and late night meditations.

Having given her all in every position she has held, Tori is now looking forward to exploring other challenges. One of the current challenges on her radar is helping to revamp and rebuild a public education system that leaves so many children hungry for knowledge and craving doors to a brighter future. If her success in her previous endeavors is any indication, Ms. Tori Scarborough will be a major force in shaping her community and indeed the country into a more positive place for all of us.

Thanks, Tori, for sharing and continue to shine your light as only you can.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

April Profile: Patience Singleton Esquire


BWFO4Change Profile: Patience Singleton, Esq.
By Tiffany Quivers

There are a few people in life whose very presence resounds with quiet, steady strength. You know the type – rather than sit around and discuss what needs to be done, they just do it - closing the gap between thought and action with swift movement led by the simplest of inquiries – what needs to get done and how do I best contribute to getting it done? Thoughts of ease or safety or self-indulgence do not burden the movement of these people-- allowing them to work efficiently and effectively.

I have only encountered a few who fit this description; one is my 86-year old Grandmother. The other is Patience Singleton, Esq., an Advisor in the Office of U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, and a networker in BWFO4Change. What I thought came with age, I now reconsider simply comes with character. Patience Singleton is a woman who has a knack to do the right thing, swiftly, steadily and with strength of character.

She was born in Jacksonville, Florida, but at the age of 12 her family moved to Atlanta, Ga. She received a B.A. (magna cum laude) from Wellesley College, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a M.P.P. in business and government policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

During the Obama Campaign for President, Patience served on the Obama/Biden Metropolitan and Urban Policy Advisory Committee and the Economy, Globalization, and Trade Policy Advisory Committee. In this role, she worked alongside others to provide local information to campaign leads. She downplays her role saying there were several people on the committee but whether there were 5 or 100 members we’re certain Patience contributed greatly.

In addition to working on policy Committees, Patience beat the
pavement locally, working on BWFO4Change phone banks and
volunteering in Virginia evenings and weekends to help elect Senator Barack Obama to the Presidency. When the campaign came to a close, she did not lose steam---she informed the campaign office that she was willing to go anywhere in Virginia to help out on Election Day. She didn’t expect them to say, “Great, we need help in Martinsville, VA.” It is important to note that Martinsville is 300 miles from Washington, DC and only 13 miles from the North Carolina border.

Consider the litany of responses that might run through one’s mind - “gas prices are too high,”…“I do not have that much time”….“I know I said anywhere, but if he wins how will I get back to DC in time to celebrate”.

Not Patience. She drove down to Martinsville, VA alone. She spent Election Day working at the polls, watching grandmothers bring in grandsons, voters visiting multiple polling locations to get to the right one and Martinsville locals volunteering to drop off doorknockers in their respective neighborhoods. She speaks of the kindness and hospitality the older southern black women extended to her.

Not once does she complain.

Rather than attempt to drive back to DC, Patience watched the election results at a local lodge in Martinsville, complete with Southern fare. She describes seeing the announcement of the first Black president through the eyes of older southern black women - women who had spent years sacrificing for this very occasion. As Patience shares this, it occurs to me - she was merely in like company – amongst fellow steady rocks who, like Patience, will tell you their work and their sacrifices were no big deal – “just the thing that needed to get done”.

After the election Patience was rewarded with a political appointment and now serves as an Advisor to Shaun Donovan, Secretary, U.S. Housing and Urban Development. She is also a member of the Obama Administration’s interagency housing stability team that focuses on initiatives to prevent foreclosures, preserve homeownership through refinancing and modify mortgages to affordable and sustainable levels, as well as to mitigate the impact of foreclosed and abandoned properties on local neighborhoods and the broader economy.

She is very qualified for these positions having spent more than 10 years advising senior Democratic Members of Congress on consumer banking, affordable housing, community development, and economic inclusion policy matters. Most recently, she was a Counsel on the House Financial Services Committee where she advised Representative Barney Frank on a number of issues including abusive and predatory lending, credit card industry reform, and financial literacy/education initiatives.

She served more than 8 years as Counsel on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee where she advised Senator Paul Sarbanes on issues ranging from anti-predatory lending legislation to bank regulatory reform measures. She also served as the chief policy expert on the Community Reinvestment Act, In recognition of her service and commitment, she the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, and initiatives to reach the unbanked. In recognition of her service and commitment, she received the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders' "Making a Difference Award."

Patience brings education, extensive experience and commitment to her work. She also brings a more tacit character trait that becomes apparent as you hear her talk about her background and her campaign volunteer experience.

During her career, Patience has advised senators and representatives and now HUD.

There is one stop left – Advisor to the President of the United States. I cannot think of anyone better suited for the position.

Patience says Obama becoming President renewed her faith in America. Knowing someone like her works for the Obama Administration renews mine.

Monday, January 11, 2010

January Profile: Kim Morton

In 2010, Black Women for Obama for Change will profile networkers monthly on our website. The women featured are bringing about the change we want to see in our society. January will feature Kim Morton an Obama Administration appointee at the U.S. Department of Education.

Kim M

BWFO4Change Profile: Kim Morton
By Tiffany Quivers

She secured six million dollars in scholarships for students from one of DC’s toughest neighborhoods, she managed over 1,000 volunteers during the Obama campaign and her greatest notable act - she taught middle school for five years. She is Kim Morton, the first member of BWFO4Change profiled in 2010. This profile provides a brief review of her professional background, her campaign experience and her dreams and aspirations.

Prior to volunteering for the Obama Campaign Kim’s most recent position was at Ballou High School in Washington, D.C. where she built public and private partnerships for one of DC’s most challenging schools. While working at Ballou, she began working on the Obama campaign as a volunteer organizer and advance person, and now one year later, she is a political appointee for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Communications and Outreach Services.

As the pieces of a puzzle find their way together so too these events for our BWFO4Change member. With each experience, Kim Morton gets closer to her vision of a community actively engaged in the work and in the policy decisions that impact them.

Political Trajectory
Along her life’s trajectory are hints at a political future – the first book report she ever did was on Shirley Chisholm. With the selection of Condoleeza Rice as Secretary of State, came the selection of a family pet name for Kim - “Little Condi” and while living in Missouri she was so inspired by Senator-elect Barack Obama she wanted to relocate to East Saint Louis, Illinois to vote for him.

Her interest in his presidential campaign began with the Oprah show. Kim recalls watching Oprah ask then Senator Obama if he was going to run for president and although he answered tentatively, three sure thoughts came to her – 1) He is going to run for president; 2) I am going to work on the campaign; and 3) He is going to win.

Given this foresight, it is no wonder that Kim progressed from house party attendee, to DC for Obama ward coordinator, to chair for the entire DC for Obama effort and then, on to work the campaign trail as a part of the National Advance Team. In addition, while working on the campaign trail, she was elected as an At- Large Committee Woman for the DC Democratic State Committee.

Her fondest memory on the campaign trail is attempting to catch an elevator and instead catching a simple hello from Senator Obama. The Senator strode down the hallway, entered his elevator and as he did so Kim speaks “hello Senator Obama” and he responds “hello”. It was a simple hello from the multifaceted man who opened up new possibilities not just for Kim, but our nation.

Campaign Residue

How did working on the campaign impact her? Are there residual thoughts of change - a new way of being, a new way to lead or a desire to serve others?

The campaign taught Kim it takes all of us to get the job done. She remembers President Obama’s statement at an inaugural ball for campaign workers – “if you can get me elected as President, you can do anything you set your mind to”, and she recalls her strong notion that Obama stood not for his own fame or personal benefit, but because of his willingness to work for others and to be a vessel to bring about change.

Kim’s change efforts continue in her current role with the U.S. Department of Education. Again she toggles between two worlds – the local and the national. She is responsible for sharing the department’s message on two critical topics to the people it impacts most. She communicates with local communities and families on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as well as on efforts to turn around low performing schools.

Through tears Kim acknowledges the people she credits for helping her get to this position - as she says “stuck their neck out” and pushed for her. She begins with the BWFO4Change Co-Chairs, Dr. E. Faye Williams and Stephanie E. Myers and discusses her gratitude for their willingness to help her gain her current political appointment. Then she extends her gratitude to her family – her great grandmother, grandmother and her mother and then her gratitude to, whom else, but Shirley Chisholm.

Next Stop: White House
Whether Kim is in an 8th grade classroom, in the corridors of Ballou, on the campaign trail or in the halls of the U.S. Department of Education, there seem to be two prevalent themes - one theme sails her ship and one is the lighthouse that guides it. The wind that propels her ship is public engagement from all citizens working together to accomplish goals, especially those citizens who are least heard and need a voice. And the lighthouse that guides her is a simple statement “it is not about me, it is about being a vessel and helping others”.

Her dream is to work in the White House. We hope her ship docks there soon, for with its docking will come the voices of many often not heard and the vessel to bring about change for them.

Here is a first picture Tiffany Quivers, BWFO4Change DC Networker