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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

Bringing city, community together


Diane Parro named director of business and community engagement

Diane Parro is now the director of business and community engagement for the City of Davis. She was previously the City’s chief innovation officer and will now serve as a liaison between the community and the City.

Mike Webb, the Davis city manager, elaborated on Parro’s role for the city.

“Her position is a bit more focused now on strategic communications, really heading up the City’s efforts, and our staff team that are involved in helping communicate back and forth with the community at large,” Webb said.

Parro jumped into her role right away and is currently filling her new position.

“The changes were effective immediately,” Webb said. “She’s already diving in headfirst with these things. Formally her title with the City was chief innovation officer, and I felt that we really needed to focus more on our strategic communications. We needed to bolster things even more. She has a background in marketing and she’s a member of our executive team, so she has good access to department heads to quickly cut to the chase and get things done.”

Parro will also work directly with businesses to bridge them with the City as well as involving the community.

“Whenever a business has questions about where to start with a process to get a remodel done or expansion or business licences, Diane is a starting point for them,” Webb said.  “With respect to communications, her role also expands to include community engagement on a broader scope and scale. She’s in charge of helping with organizing and helping to get word out about things that are happening with the City — helping us develop our approach to how each City department engages with the community and creating clear expectations about when we engage with the community.”

In order to get the word out and connect the City and the community, she’s working to use social media platforms such as Facebook.

“Largely, she’s building upon some good things that the City’s done in the last couple of years like utilizing social media platforms, [such as] using our website and more traditional means of press releases and local media to help get word out,” Webb said. “Putting signage out in the community, like our roadway construction project [for example], and working with our team to help explain what is happening, like what’s the end product going to look like and what the community can expect in terms of completion and how it’s funded.”

Rachel Hartsough, the arts and culture manager, will be working with Parro, and noted how the arts are connected to the city’s government and community.

“I am looking forward to working more closely with Diane in this way,” Hartsough said via email. “Taking a more holistic overview of how the Arts fit in with — and bolster — economic development and other community engagement efforts helps support our ongoing vision of the City’s Arts & Cultural Affairs Program to support community-based arts projects, cultural opportunities, and education initiatives that foster excellence, diversity, and vitality in the arts.”

Parro’s role largely influences how the City can connect to the community better through communication, which includes the arts, among other projects.

“She also has a very good and direct communication style, and she’s also what I call proactive,” Webb said. “She doesn’t wait for someone to come and say to do x, y or z. Part of the expectation with Diane is […] that we should already be now thinking about to communicate to the community.”

This relationship between the City and the community will allow more projects and practices such as art management.

“The newly formalized relationship within the City’s organizational structure will further strengthen our goals to build community partnerships, explores best practices, and manage the public art collection through an enhanced network of partners in the community,” Hartsough said.

Hartsough stated that the arts and culture program is seeing improvement with overall city satisfaction.

“The Arts & Culture program has seen incredible growth and momentum in Davis during the past few years, and this will really continue to help us have a positive impact on the quality of life for all Davis residents and visitors,” Hartsough said.

According to The Davis Enterprise, Mayor Robb Davis indicated that open communication will only add to the City’s momentum to engage with the community.

“Transparency is of critical importance and I am supportive of efforts to deliver more information using traditional and emerging modes of communication,” Davis said. “I am pleased that the city manager’s office has reorganized around existing staff to place greater emphasis on providing information to the public and engaging the community in myriad ways.”

Webb added that he believes that there is more potential for communication between the City and the community.

“I think we’re very fortunate to have the engaged community that we have, and I think this is a good time for us to be doubling down on our communication with the community on what’s happening,” Webb said. “Day in and day out, there’s good things that the City is doing out there in the community, whether it’s posting a forum or meeting or working on a capital improvement project and a myriad of other things. I think there’s a lot of good things that are happening, and we need to be in communication with the Davis community about those things. I’m pleased to see that we’re going to be able to move that forward.”



Written by: Stella Tran — city@theaggie.org



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