This post is by ELGL co-founder Kirsten Wyatt.
We mourn the death and celebrate the life of John Allore, a longtime friend of ELGL.
Starting and building ELGL required people to take a chance on the organization. As you might guess, it is fairly uncommon for a small group of people to decide to create a new local government networking organization, especially with a humongous goal of engaging the brightest minds in local government.
And so, early on, ELGL relied on curious people who wondered what ELGL was about and how they could plug in. People like Ron Holifield at SGR, and Eric and Chris Fabian at CPBB invited us to engage at their company events and allowed us to share our vision for what a 21st century local government networking organization could look like.
It was at the 2014 CPBB conference that we met another person who approached ELGL with an open mind and open arms.
John Allore was the budget director for the City of Durham, NC, and we met him at the conference with his trademark smile and good naturedness.
(And of course some healthy rapport about how Chapel Hill’s university and sports teams far surpassed Durham’s.)
John further impressed with his @justusguy lightning fast Twitter feed, capturing the learning from the conference and sharing it out on social media. A major component of ELGL’s early social media strategy was to democratize learning from local government conferences so anyone could learn alongside, even if they couldn’t attend the event. He and Christian Williams (a future ELGL board member) successfully tweeted the top 40 ideas from the conference that we shared from our vantage point at ELGL.
After leaving #CPBB14 and returning home, John quickly became a go-to resource in the Triangle area for the growing ELGL organization. Always quick on Twitter, he would gladly welcome new people to the organization, sign up to attend Supper Clubs and regional events, and showcased the quality that we were always looking for: never being too busy to be helpful to people in local government careers.
John was the type of person you could email with an introduction and he’d cheerfully reply with an offer to help. That introduction could be to a young person looking for their first local government job, or a peer in budget leadership – he treated everyone the same, with respect, curiosity, and kindness.
Over the years, John helped ELGL grow in ways big and small. He interviewed his childhood friend Malcolm Gladwell on the GovLove podcast. He planned ELGL events and shared his wisdom and experience at conferences. He hired so many ELGL members into the Durham budget office (or turned them into ELGL members once hired). He supported #ELGL19 as a leader and participant. He never stopped saying “yes” to meeting new people and encouraging them in local government careers.
One of my favorite quotes is “be who you needed when you were younger.” Meaning that we can all – no matter our age – reflect back on the help we needed when we were at various points in our careers, and pay that forward.
John lived that – he reached out a helping hand, had a moment to chat, took the time to share – and made local government (and ELGL) better because of it.
In John’s memory, I encourage you to find time in the coming weeks to say “yes” to someone who reaches out to you about their local government career and aspirations. And please join me in remembering an important person who worked in public service. Rest in peace.