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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Jenny Tan becomes Director of Community Engagement for the City of Davis

Former Public Information Officer for Yolo County highlights the importance of collaboration in community building 

By SHRADDHA JHINGAN — city@theaggie.org


In a news statement published on March 23, the City of Davis announced that Jenny Tan had been appointed as the Director of Community Engagement by City Manager Mike Webb. Tan was also chosen as Yolo County’s Woman of the Year by California State Senator Bill Dodd. Tan’s new position started on April 4, as the previous Director of Community Engagement, Diane Parro, retired on April 1. 

Webb expressed excitement at having Tan join the city of Davis and highlighted her previous work. Tan was an integral part of the COVID-19 outreach and response efforts in Yolo County.

“The City is excited to have Jenny join our team,” Webb said in the press release. “Jenny was a key part of the robust COVID-19 response and outreach when she was Yolo County’s Public Information Officer. She showcased leadership, collaboration and a commitment to transparency that aligns perfectly with the City’s values.” 

Tan stated that so far, the new position has been a fulfilling experience. She said that the staff has been kind, and the role is a good fit for her.

“I started on April 4 and it’s been wonderful so far,” Tan said via email. “Staff have been welcoming and engaging. I’ve learned that I feel and work best when my values correspond with the place where I work and the City of Davis is a great fit.”

These are not the only factors that have made the role an enjoyable experience. Tan explained that the combination of the City Council’s goals, its values and her passion has made the role an enjoyable experience. 

“The City Council’s Goals of economic stability, equitable community and thriving neighborhoods especially resonate with me,” Tan said via email. “I am passionate about the positive impact of local government and am greatly enjoying this new role.”

Earlier, Tan was the Public Information Officer for Yolo County. In this role, she managed the communications aspect of handling the COVID-19 pandemic. Her duties included “clarifying complex health orders for the public” and appearing in videos called “Daily Briefing” on Twitter and Facebook. She also helped create a network of various organizations, including UC Davis, the city of Davis, Healthy Davis Together and Yolo County.

“Tan also oversaw the County’s 2020 Census effort that bridged demographics of multiple communities and led to higher participation rates across Yolo County,” the news release reads. 

Tan also explained what the role entails, stating that there are many parts to it. These range from marketing to public affairs to community relations.

“This role includes many facets,” Tan said via email. “I provide administrative direction for public affairs, community relations and engagement, and marketing-related activities and am responsible for coordinating activities involving other City departments, officials, outside agencies, and the public. I can also serve as a spokesperson for the City at community events, public relations activities or emergencies, among other duties.”

 In a TED talk, “leadership development and transformational coach” Gretchen Krampf defined community engagement and emphasized  its collaborative aspects. 

“This definition of community engagement is people working collaboratively through inspired action and learning to create and realize bold visions for their common future,” Krampf said.

Tan also mentioned the importance of teamwork in community engagement. Tan stated that community engagement “also means telling the Davis story” and showing what the city of Davis staff have been doing within the community.

“To me, community engagement is about working with residents and stakeholders in a transparent, equitable, and positive manner to develop meaningful solutions that improve and sustain the Davis community,” Tan said via email. “I hope to better engage the community in long term and sustainable relationships, collaborations, and processes.”

Ultimately, as Tan highlighted, everybody plays a vital part in the betterment of our community. This will allow important resources to be sustained for future generations, Tan said.

“As a Davis resident and alumni of UC Davis, I strongly believe that we all have a role to play in improving the community where we work, live, or go to school,” Tan said via email. “Public service is a calling that not everyone hears but is important in sustaining key programs and services that benefit our residents and future generations.”

Written by: Shraddha Jhingan — city@theaggie.org




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