Ep 60: How to Engage DC’s Vibrant, Local Talent with Courtney Snowden

Ep 60: How to Engage DC’s Vibrant, Local Talent with Courtney Snowden

Courtney R. Snowden (@DMGEOSnowden) is Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity for the District of Columbia. A sixth-generation Washingtonian born at Howard University Hospital, Courtney was raised in the Shepherd Park neighborhood of Ward 4, and now lives east of the river (EOTR) in Ward 7 with her young son, Malik.  The Washington Post has recognized Courtney for her keen understanding of the need to connect neighborhoods if the city is to thrive. She understands policy, is adept at building coalitions and is both smart and passionate about education reform.” 

Courtney is a graduate of DC Public Schools and received her B.A. in Political Science in 2000 from Beloit College. After graduating, Courtney returned home to the District to join the legislative staff of Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) on Capitol Hill.

Courtney has devoted her life to making Washington, DC, a better place for all its residents, corner to corner. She has a record of coalition building and bringing people from different backgrounds together from across the city.

As a principal at The Raben Group, a premiere progressive government relations firm, she advises the firm’s clients on a variety of public policy issues through direct lobbying, strategic planning, and coalition building. Her diverse client portfolio includes Google, the Committee for Education Funding, the National Urban League, and Graham Holdings.

An active leader in the city’s LGBT and African-American communities and a staunch public education advocate, Courtney served as the first female board chair of DC Black Pride in 2008, and was an active member of the DC GLBT Advisory Committee.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • how the City of Washington has changed over time and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s economic development vision going forward.
  • how the Mayor’s office is working with educators to prepare students who live in the District for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
  • efforts in the District to promote diversity and inclusion in the City’s growing start-up sector.


DC.gov – Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

On Beauty by Zadie Smith


The FCC has fined Comcast $2.3 million–the largest ever civil penalty on a cable operator for a practice called “negative option billing” where customers were charged for equipment and services they never requested. Comcast’s response to the fine? Sorry–we didn’t do anything wrong–it’s just that we had some isolated incidents where our customer service representatives were just kind of confusing. Richard Gonzalez has the story for NPR.

The nonprofit Center for Election Innovation and Research is crediting  Facebook for registering thousands of new voters nationwide. Just in California, the 17-word reminder led to over 123,000 new voter registrations on the first day alone. While Facebook was unable to provide demographic data about the new registrations, Facebook’s users are generally seen as leaning female, young and Democratic. Niraj Chokshi has the story in The New York Times.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Media Justice and Color of Change reported last week that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter provided data access to a company called Geofeedia–a company sells a product that monitors social media activity, and which has been marketed to law enforcement officials looking for intel on protesters. The advocacy groups obtained emails of Geofeedia corresponding with law enforcement about the success the company has had monitoring recent protests in Ferguson and elsewhere. Facebook and Instagram have cut off Geofeedia’s access to its main public feeds. Twitter hasn’t cut off access, but the ACLU’s press release notes the social media network has taken steps to rein in Geofeedia.

Finally, it looks like billionaire investor Peter Thiel has alienated himself from a major diversity and inclusion partner after he donated $1.25 million to Donald Trump, days after Trump was caught on tape making lewd comments about sexually assaulting women. Project Include co-Founder Ellen Pao, a leader in the tech diversity debate in Silicon Valley, wrote in a Medium post that she was cutting ties with the incubator Peter Thiel Founded–Y Combinator, saying Project Include and Y Combinator’s values are no longer aligned given Thiel’s continued affiliation with Y Combinator.