Commission application number 191 submitted by Courtney Leonard on 07/06/2020

First Name Courtney
Middle Name/Initial Jane
Last Name Leonard
Voter Unique Identification number 2138466991
Ethnicity Self-describe
Gender Female
Age 25-34
Education Level Post-Graduate Degree
Major Pursued Music, Graphic Design, Advertising
What is your occupation? Designer
Submitted Address
City Austin
State TX
Zip 78723
Verified Address
City Austin
State TX
Zip 78723
Do you have a spouse or domestic partner? Yes
Spouse/Domestic Partner First Name Robert
Spouse/Domestic Partner Middle Name/Initial Anthony
Spouse/Domestic Partner Last Name Knapp
Are you applying to be the student member of the commission? No
Have you been continuously registered to vote in the City of Austin for the last five years? Yes
Have you voted in 3 of the last 5 City of Austin general elections (or corresponding runoff if applicable)? Yes
Been appointed to a state or city office? No
Been elected to a state or city office? No
Been a candidate for a state or city office? No
Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a political party? No
Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of the campaign committee of a candidate for elective state, county, or city office? No
Been a registered state or local lobbyist? No
A paid employee of the City of Austin? No
A person performing paid services under a professional services contract with the City of Austin? No
A person performing paid services under a professional or personal services contract to the City Council of the City of Austin or to any individual member of the City Council of the City of Austin? No
A controlling person of a person performing paid services under a professional or personal services contract to any member of the City Council of the City of Austin? No
Contribute or bundle one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more in aggregate to candidates for City of Austin elective office? No
Please describe your relevant analytical skills. As a former public school instructor, design mentor and design lead in my current professional role, I'm often tasked with learning a lot of information at once. As a commissioner, it seems crucial to be able to synthesize multiple types of information in a short amount of time, discuss the information and its implications, and draw conclusions or solutions as a team. These are skills I use daily in different scenarios as an individual contributor, project lead with multiple stakeholders and a coach for folks entering a new career. I also have extensive research experience, having completed thesis work at UT Austin. Additionally, I often seek collaboration with experts working parallel to my role in the fields of design, tech and media to solve complex challenges. By learning how to ask better questions, we get to uncover different kinds of information, resulting in better solutions for our growing communities.
Please describe your ability to be impartial. I work in media, tech and design: heavily subjective fields rooted in objective goals and practices. In order to create solutions that meet the needs of the challenges at hand, a lot of research, testing and feedback is necessary. As a designer, I am constantly required to let go of my preferences in order to better serve the users or audience of a product that I am helping to build. I believe this would make me a good candidate for the commission because not only am I able to do this as an individual, but as a director and mentor, I'm comfortable guiding others away from conversations rooted in feelings or personal preference in order to maintain impartiality. When it comes to districting, which is an important step in ensuring accurate representation for our community, I would base my recommendations on factual constraints, council from relevant experts and feedback from the community.
Please describe your appreciation for the City of Austin's diverse demographics and geography. When I moved to Austin, I had a very myopic view of who lived here and what the city had to offer. In the past seven years I learned that Austinites are committed to honoring its history while making necessary changes to better serve their neighbors, whether they're born-and-raised Texans or people from across the world, looking for new experiences. It's been fascinating to see the city grow and watch small business owners and collaborative innovators pave the way for the metropolis it's morphed into. As a former D.C. and Virginia resident and avid hiker, I'm still in awe of Southwest geography and have grown a deep appreciation for our parks--another reason why I find districting such an important job in our community.
Please provide your employment history. I'm currently a principal designer / design lead at Vox Media. I lead projects for visual brand development for our verticals, events design, podcast/video/network partnerships and product design for our publishing and advertising platforms. I work closely with marketing, research and leadership while collaborating, overseeing and delegating work with other designers. Outside of work, I volunteer my time as a career coach for recent graduates of HTU and folks switching into design from across the country. I mentor UX design students at DesignLab as well. I also volunteer local schools and hospitals with my trained therapy dog through Divine Canines. In 2019, I completed training as a Voter Deputy Registrar. Before my career in design, I worked as an instructor for middle - high school music students. I taught individual music lessons, ran clinics for small ensembles and worked with marching bands in Northern and Southeast Virginia. My volunteer and teaching experience gives me a lot of insight and communication skills when speaking with members of a tight-knit community. I'm able to listen actively, follow direction of experts and simultaneously offer my own perspectives and solutions when appropriate.
How did you hear about redistricting/Applicant Review Panel? Social media
Disclaimer Agreement Checked
Disclaimer Signature Courtney Jane Leonard
District District 1
Does this application qualify? Yes