Jolie C Brawner
I am Currently the Executive Director of the Washington Street Community Center; I have been the ED since July 2016. I originally joined the organization in March of 2014. I left the organization for an amazing opportunity with the Air and space Museum in 2015 and returned in 2016 when I was invited by the Board of Directors to interview for the available Executive Director Position. When I first arrived in Denver in 2011 I took on a position as a Project manager for Dr. Deb Palmieri the Honorary Consulate General of Russian in Colorado at the Russia LLC and Institute. From 2011 to 2014 I worked for the Table to Tavern (Previously Pour Kids) restaurant Group as a waitress, Bartender, Bar manager closing manager, and later Marketing Manager. Before moving to Colorado in 2011 I was finishing my master’s degree in International Affairs, Eastern European and Russian Studies at the Florida State University. I defended my master's thesis in the Spring of 2011. While working on my master’s degree I worked full time for the FSU libraries (in research, collection development, and later Electronic resources).
I earned a Masters in International Affairs: Eastern European and Russian Studies from the Florida State University in Tallahassee Florida in 2011. I have a BA in History with a minor in Classics from the University of Florida. Additionally, I completed two different international language programs; studying Russian language and culture at Moscow State University in Moscow in 2009 and joining the "Summer School of Slavonic Studies" as Charles University in Prague in 2007.
I have volunteered time to a number of nonpartisan as well as partisan organizations; however I believe the only campaigns I have donated dollars to are Lisa Cutter’s Colorado House Run in 2018 and Bernie Sanders's campaign in 2020.
I love being involved with my community! As the director of a non-partisan, non-denominational Community Organization I have the benefit of easily connecting myself to volunteer opportunities across the Denver Metro Area. My largest Civic involvement in the last five years would have been the Women's March, and March on Colorado. I am a founding Board member of the organization, in addition to being one of the "Lead Organizers" for the 2016 and 2017 Denver Women's March. I also coordinated an Educational Women's Summit in 2016 for "March On Colorado." Additionally I volunteer with the Asian Pacific Development Center as a Citizenship workshop volunteer, Mock interview volunteer, and Citizenship Class volunteer. I have also volunteered for the annual "Lucky District 7" district park and neighborhood clean up days. And, have attended several meeting of the Alamo Placita Neighborhood association as well as the West Wash Park Neighborhood Association and the Wash Park East Neighborhood Association.
As the Executive Director of a Community Based organization I am very accustomed to advocating for and considering the interests of a myriad of groups. As a 501(3) nonprofit leader I am compelled to be impartial, fair, and community minded; I have the ability to separate my own personal beliefs from analytical truth and fact. I am incredibly capable of having hard discussions, making definitive decisions, and taking the needs of diverse populations in to account. Be that running a Community Children's program and Preschool while meeting the needs of a wide range of families, creating service and programing for our Senior Citizens, or working with neighborhood associations to make sure our citizens are connected to a community that is a reflection of them. However, I would assert that the greatest skill I bring to the table is not only my real ability to listen; but my ability to make people feel heard.
I want to serve on this commission because representation matters, and everyone needs to be heard. I am a woman, under the age of 40, who does not identify as white; I want to be a part of making everyone's voice heard and I want to bring my voice to the table. I have a wide range of unconventional experience, and I am connected to my community. I believe I would be good at this job, I am qualified for this job, and I want to serve my community.
I have worked with a lot of organizations over the last ten years and have found I am very good at having challenging conversations. I face conflict head on, with my ears open. I am clear, decisive, and I will not mince words for my own comfort. I will make sure a conversation keeps moving, I do not remain stuck on single talking points and on several occasions I have been recognized as the "peacekeeper;" I can hold space for several opposing views through challenging conversations, and ensure everyone feels heard.
I have honed and developed my logical skills over a lifetime. As a student I took philosophy of logic courses in college, as a graduate student research librarian I helped draft logical arguments for Professors starting books, and as a young professional I studied for and took the LSAT (scoring in the top 20%). I pride myself on my analytical skills; I have excellent logic and reasoning skills, but it is my ability to remain calm and thoughtful under stress that sets me apart as a "problem solver." I have had a wide range of experiences that have gotten me to this point (a quality I am sure I share with other applicants), however I believe my years in the service industry are a major contributor to how well I function under pressure while remaining logical and efficient. I do not crack under pressure, in fact I tend to thrive under pressure; I think clearly and rationally when others cannot and that is what makes me a fantastic leader, and ultimately an excellent candidate for this committee.