Kate Reynolds

MPA in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy - 2011

Deputy Director
White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities
Kate Reynolds

How did you find your first post-Wagner job?

I came to Wagner with the goal to work in local government but the experiences and coursework opened my eyes to other opportunities. Through a career services event, I learned about the Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) program and decided to apply. I also pursued a job and received an offer from NYC Small Business Services.  Deciding between the two options was a very difficult decision. Eventually I decided to join the Federal government to have the chance to influence national policy. I now have the opportunity to work with local governments all over the U.S., so, in the end — I have the best of both worlds.

How did your Wagner experience prepare you professionally for what you are doing today?

I couldn't have been prepared more fully by my time at Wagner. As you grow in your career, you have to know how to make decisions and chart a course of action in complex environments. My Capstone assignment, to propose redevelopment options for the long-abandoned Kingsbridge Armory building in the Bronx, was very helpful in exposing me to the complexity of policy-making in a political environment. And my Capstone team's work is continuing —a developer and the City are executing one of our team’s recommendations!

Describe your current job.

I am the Deputy Director for the White House Council that oversees the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative, or SC2. As such, I manage Federal teams working in cities around the country. These cities are seeking to revitalize their economies, implement smart growth strategies, and tackle local challenges like blight, crime, and disinvestment. We have a mandate to implement new Federal approaches, which leads to an entrepreneurial culture. I also value the variety in my work, both in terms of the types of projects that we tackle day to day as well as the staff that I work with —we have representation from almost 19 Federal agencies. It's incredibly rewarding to see my work positively impact communities around the country.