Rhodes Alumna and Nation’s Director of Citizen Participation to Speak in Memphis Sept. 22


Publication Date: 9/14/2009

“With the help of innovative and emerging technologies, we have seen our government start to become more transparent, participatory and collaborative. These tools are critical in that they connect our citizens with our elected leaders, but also importantly, they connect citizens with one another,” according to Rhodes alumna Katie Jacobs-Stanton, President Obama′s Director of Citizen Participation.

Jacobs-Stanton is coming to Memphis to share knowledge about new technological platforms that allow citizens to engage with their government and communities and participate in decision making.

On September 22, she will speak at a Celebrate What’s Right luncheon co-hosted by The Leadership Academy and Rhodes College, and sponsored by First Tennessee Foundation. The luncheon begins at noon at Hilton Memphis located at 939 Ridge Lake Boulevard.

She also will address Rhodes students at 4:15 p.m. in Blount Auditorium on the Rhodes campus.

Jacobs-Stanton′s role in the White House is to leverage new media technology to help make it easier for American citizens to engage with the White House by asking questions, commenting on issues of public interest and receiving the latest news, photos and videos from the Obama Administration.

Prior to her role in the White House, Jacobs-Stanton was at Google where she was a Group Product Manager and then Principal of New Business Development responsible for various election-related initiatives and Google Moderator. The “Moderator” tool allowed people to submit questions for the Presidential debates and later allowed them to suggest initiatives for the new administration on the Change.gov site.

Individuals and groups from around the world are using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to bring about reforms in their countries and communities. Access to information is a potent fuel for democracy, according to Jacobs-Stanton. She says a Rhodes semester abroad in Jerusalem taught her the importance of studying and understanding all perspectives of any individual issue.

Jacobs-Stanton holds a B.A. in political science from Rhodes (Class of 1991) and an M.A. in international affairs from Columbia University. Also at Rhodes, she was a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and the Tex-Mex Border Ministry. Her postgraduate background includes positions at Yahoo!, Chase Manhattan Bank, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, a volunteer position in Kenya, and a teaching role in Japan.

Tickets for the luncheon ($25 per person or $250 for a table of 10) can be purchased by visiting  http://kjsmemphis.eventbrite.com/  For more information contact, Didi Crandall at dcrandall@leadershipacademy.org or (901) 527-4625  ext. 10.