City of Oakland Welcomes Four FUSE Fellows to Advance Equitable Recovery and Resilience

Published by: City of Oakland

OAKLAND –– The City of Oakland welcomes its first cohort of Equitable Recovery FUSE Fellows, a fully-funded partnership with FUSE Corps to bring in executive-level fellows for one-year projects that promote equitable recovery and resilience. The first four FUSE Fellows’ 12-month engagements run through March 2022.

The FUSE fellows will be embedded in the City Administrator’s Office, Economic & Workforce Development Department and the Office of Mayor Libby Schaaf. Working alongside City leaders and staff, the fellows will bring new approaches, diverse perspectives, community-based solutions, and added capacity to tackle pressing challenges around equitable access to City services, economic growth, and education.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Equitable Recovery FUSE Fellows to the City of Oakland family,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Our partnership with FUSE has brought talented executives from diverse sectors who are ready to address an array of pressing issues, with equity-centered solutions, that will advance City services, economic recovery, and education.”

In the City Administrator’s OfficeFUSE Fellow Helen Angeldones will develop an equity-centered performance management system to track and report on targets aligned to key health, climate, and economic indicators. In partnership with multiple city departments, and guided by the Equity Indicators Report and the Resilient Oakland strategy, the work will result in a through and holistic implementation plan for the launch, scaling, and integration of a performance management system in the City.

Ms. Angeldones is a seasoned analytics strategist with more than 20 years of experience advising and consulting in the financial services, retail, e-commerce, consumer software, healthcare, and life sciences industries. She has driven and led data and strategy groups for Fortune 500 companies, including UnitedHealth Group, Oracle, PayPal, Kaiser Permanente, and AbbVie. Known for bringing innovative thinking to business problems, Helen has deep knowledge of how to build closed-loop analytics infrastructure from the ground up and manage teams of analysts to deliver data-strategy and evidence-based growth recommendations. She has a B.A. in psychology from York University and an MBA from the University of Missouri.

In the Economic & Workforce Development Department, FUSE Fellow Gilbert (Gil) Gonzales will establish an economic recovery framework to address the devasting economic consequences Oakland workers, families, and small businesses have experienced during the pandemic, and the disproportionate impacts on Oakland’s Black, Latinx, and other communities of color. The recovery framework will be informed by the work of the Oakland Economic Recovery Advisory Council, which identified both short-term and long-term recommendations in five focus areas: financial support, leadership, health and safety guidance, business capacity building, and safety net assistance. The recovery framework will be used to secure new partnerships and pilot equitable approaches to economic empowerment.

Mr. Gonzales has more than 15 years of experience as a senior economic development and public affairs professional, including roles with the Mayor of Los Angeles, and governors of Arizona and California. From 2007 to 2011, he was appointed as Senior Director in the City of Los Angeles’ Office of Housing and Economic Development by Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa. His successful efforts in attracting businesses garnered $180 million in capital investments, created 4,800 new jobs, and generated $1.6 million in annual sales tax revenue for the city’s general fund coffers. From there, Gilbert held senior level positions with Vons, the Arizona Commerce Authority, the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, and California Manufacturing Technology Consulting. Most recently, he founded Aprise, a software technology company that serves as a single access point where small minority businesses can discover and apply for government incentives (i.e., tax credits, grants, loans, etc.). Throughout his career he has strived to create economic opportunities for marginalized and low-income communities, with a particular and intentional focus on diverse, small- and medium-sized businesses which are the backbone of our economy.

In the Mayor’s Office, FUSE Fellow Mohammad (Mo) Khan will oversee a feasibility study to provide options and recommendations for bridging Oakland’s digital divide, which will include a sustainability plan for OakWifi and last-mile broadband delivery. The work will be informed by targeted community outreach, as well as input from organizations like #OaklandUndivided.

Mr. Khan is an experienced deal-maker, lawyer, tech entrepreneur, corporate adviser, and venture capitalist with a successful, 25-year track record of starting, nurturing, investing in, advising, and exiting a variety of high technology, information, and telecommunications companies in the Silicon Valley and global tech hotspots. Mr. Khan previously managed a successful venture fund which outperformed the leading venture funds in the Silicon Valley by making savvy investments in immigrant, minority, and non-mainstream founders. Mr. Khan also founded, led, and exited several companies previously as CEO. He founded and sold three ISP’s in Africa which pioneered high speed, software-defined, and cloud-managed broadband networks a decade before they became mainstream.

In the City Administrator’s Office, FUSE Fellow Violet Pearson will support community engagement for the “Better Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors” initiative, a multi-year project that features affordable housing, urban greening, an aquaponics farm, and youth development programming in East Oakland. Violet will be embedded within the Black Cultural Zone CDC, a key agency charged with implementing the ‘Better Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors” initiative, and will establish a stakeholder council of existing East Oakland residents and business-owners to inform the work.

Ms. Pearson’s professional career as a social entrepreneur, business strategist, master coach, change igniter, and women’s rights activist spans 20+ years of expertise in organizational leadership and development, strategic business planning and implementation, executive recruitment and coaching, and developing high-performance teams. She has worked with clients throughout the United States, Africa, South America, and Asia in several industries, including consumer products, food and beverages, healthcare, utilities, oil and gas, high tech, and professional services. Further, she has founded and led several nonprofit organizations and served as a consultant to the African Women’s Development Fund, UNIFEM, UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR, Interparliamentarian Union (IPU), Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and National Democratic Institute (NDI). Through consulting for these agencies she has developed the following: programs for Campaign on Violence Against Women; training for psychologists and lay counselors on providing counseling and support to survivors of violence and sexual assault; gender and violence against women and children training manuals for the police force; strategic objectives for Women’s Programs for the UN; Training Manual for Elected officials; and Media Advocacy Manuals for journalists.

Oakland is 1 of 15 municipal or county government locations in the United States hosting a total of 42 fellows.

About FUSE

FUSE is a national nonprofit that partners with local government agencies on a range of issues, including economic and workforce development, healthcare, public safety, climate change, and education. FUSE’s approach centers around a year-long executive fellowship program, which embeds fellows with city and county agencies. FUSE executive fellows help to craft new policy, roll out new public services, and improve existing programs in order to better serve communities.

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