Kirsten Wyatt, Executive Director & Co-Founder

Kirsten Wyatt is the executive director and co-founder of ELGL, and a co-host of the GovLove podcast. She also serves as an elected school board member for the West Linn-Wilsonville School District. Previously, she worked in state and local government in Oregon, Virginia, and North Carolina.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Politics from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon; and a Master of Public Administration Degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She loves hanging out with her family, reading, eating sandwiches, going to the beach, playing skeeball, and taking moderately difficult hikes in the Pacific Northwest.

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Chanté Mitchell, Program Director

Chanté Mitchell is a Program Director for ELGL. Chanté is from Topeka, KS and received her BA in Communication from Washburn University in 2015 and received her MPA from the University of Kansas in 2018. Prior to starting her role with ELGL,  Chanté previously served as the Management System Coordinator for the City of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Chanté worked hand in hand with the City Manager and Assistant City Manager on the implementation and oversight of the Brooklyn Park 2025 Community Plan and individual department strategic plans (goals, strategies, projects and performance measures). Chanté has served in two different nationally recognized fellowship roles for future local government leaders serving the City of Edina, MN and the City of San Antonio, TX. Chanté  is what she likes to call "midwestern fab" and is Kansas proud. Chanté is a foodie who loves trying new and unique restaurants. She is the mom to Kosmo the Dood, and is that dog mom now.

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Cherise Mead, Program Director

Cherise Mead is a Program Director with ELGL. Prior to joining the team she spent 10 years with Mesa Public Library, initially shelving books part time and most recently leading the marketing team. She's particularly interested in ethical data usage, fresh public engagement strategies, and in keeping local government professionals energized about effecting positive change in their communities. She holds a BA in Linguistics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, an MLIS from the University of Washington, and an MPA from Arizona State University where she concentrated in Urban Management. While she's resided in Arizona since 2008, Cherise originally hails from the Chicago area and likes to think she's maintained her midwestern sensibilities (and appreciation for a good ear of corn). In her free time she travels with her husband, makes and appreciates art, and pets her fat orange cat.

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Allie Breyer, Digital Coordinator

Allie Breyer is the Digital Coordinator for ELGL. Her love of local government work began while working as a Waste Prevention Analyst for the City of Eugene. For over three years, she served as the community engagement lead on a variety of waste prevention initiatives in the community, with a focus on residential food waste, composting, and repair programs. In addition to ELGL, Allie currently works for the State of Vermont’s Health Department as an Emergency Preparedness Planner. She is particularly interested in helping government agencies effectively share their successes and engage with the public through digital communication platforms.

She holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Oregon, where she focused on community and regional planning, and environmental sustainability.

When she is not nerding-out on public sector digital communication strategies, you can find her reading a good book, buying far too many plants, taking in the Vermont scenery by foot, or enjoying a really good maple pastry.

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Hallee Haygood, Membership & Project Manager

Hallee Haygood is the Membership & Special Projects Manager for ELGL, and she is currently a graduate student at UNC- Chapel Hill, working towards a dual degree in Public Administration and City & Regional Planning. While working on her undergraduate degree, a close friend recommended she listen to GovLove. After one episode she was hooked and immediately started researching schools where she could receive an education in local government. During her time at UNC she has served as a Research Assistant, analyzing local sales tax data, and this past summer worked as an intern in the City of Durham’s Budget & Management Services Department. In her free time, Hallee enjoys watching stand-up comedy, spending time with her cat, and finding the best oat milk latte in Chapel Hill. She is extremely excited for the opportunity to be a part of the ELGL team, and looks forward to creating change at the local level. 

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GovLove Podcast

In addition to the staff below, the GovLove Podcast also involves Board Members Ben Kittelson (Co-Host & Producer) and Ashley Copeland (Co-Host), as well as Executive Director Kirsten Wyatt (Co-Host).

Javon Davis, Co-Host

Javon Davis is the Assistant Deputy Commissioner of the Philadelphia Fire Department and Co-Host of ELGL’s GovLove Podcast. Before moving to America’s 5 th (or 6 th ) largest city, he served as the Policy and Government Affairs Manager for the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department and is a former Cookingham-Noll Management Fellow with the City of KCMO. For GovLove, he enjoys sharing positive local government stories about equity and inclusion, innovative practices, and highlighting all the amazing people that make up the profession. Javon was born and raised in Virginia and graduated with a BA in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, a BS in Criminal Justice, and a Masters of Public Administration from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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Alyssa Dinberg, Co-Host

During the day, Alyssa serves the people of the City of Boulder as a Management Analyst working with City Planning, Public Works and the City Manager's Office on a variety of internal and external projects. Prior to starting her current role in Boulder, Alyssa was a Cookingham-Noll Management Fellow for the City of Kansas City, Missouri. Alyssa most loves how GovLove showcases the exciting, challenging and interesting stories of local government through the variety of guests featured. Alyssa is originally from Atlanta, Georgia and graduated with a BA in Interdisciplinary Community Development from The University of Alabama an Executive Master’s of Public Administration from the Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri Kansas City When she's not working, Alyssa enjoys exploring her new home city, traveling to see friends, and tending to her hundreds of plants. Alyssa currently lives in Denver, Colorado with an aquatic turtle and two very sassy cats.

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Toney Thompson, Co-Host

Toney Thompson currently works as a budget analyst for the City of Durham, North Carolina and is Co-Host of ELGL's GovLove Podcast. In his role, Toney strives to create better outcomes for citizens through public administration and policy. In addition to being a budget analyst, Toney works on several city-wide projects that help incorporate innovation and equity into city policy and practices. Prior to his current role as a budget analyst, Toney served as the ICMA Fellow for Durham City and County. Toney is originally from Columbia, South Carolina and graduated with a BA in public policy from Duke University and a Master's of Public Administration from The School of Government at UNC Chapel Hill.

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Lauren Palmer, Co-Host

Lauren Palmer became the Director of Local Government Services for the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) in 2018. MARC is the regional council of governments and Metropolitan Planning Organization for the nine-county, bi-state Kansas City region. Prior to joining MARC, Lauren worked for 14 years in local government administration, including serving as city administrator in Parkville, MO and assistant city manager in Independence, MO and Manhattan, KS. She began her local government career as a Management Intern and Management Analyst in Des Moines, IA. Lauren serves on the advisory board for the Greater Kansas City Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). She was recognized as a top influencer in local government with a 2019 Traeger Award from Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). Lauren has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Master of Public Administration degree from Indiana University.

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Dan Bolin, Co-Host

Dan is a Partner at the Ancel Glink Law Firm, which specializes in local government law. Dan has represented public entities and property owners in wide-ranging local government, land use, and election matters across Illinois. Dan has spent his entire legal career in local government, regularly counseling governmental clients at board and commission meetings, and managing real estate transactions and other development matters. Dan also concentrates in election law, appearing before and serving on a number of local electoral boards for challenges to candidate nominating petitions. Dan hosts Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum podcast, and he often discusses legal issues affecting local governments on GovLove. Dan earned his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dan graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois College of Law, where he served as an associate editor on the University of Illinois Law Review and earned a CALI Award in Real Estate Development.

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Michael Montgomery, Producer

Michael Montgomery currently serves as the Deputy City Council Administrator for the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Prior to his arrival in Olympic City, USA he served as the Town Administrator for  the Town of Bartonville, Texas as well as the Assistant to the City Manager in Celina, Texas.  He holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Colorado State University  (Go Rams!) and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of North Texas (Go Mean Green!).

When not goving it up, he turns into his alter ego, Pizza Mike.  Pizza Mike dedicates all free time to the preparation, research, and consumption of pizza.

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