Danielle Hamilton

Danielle Hamilton, Senior Membership and Welcome Desk Associate, Civic Hall

“Civic Hall is a workspace, but it’s also a community, and it can be so much more. When I come here, this is the group of people who have my back and support me. We can work together to not just make Civic Hall a better place, but NYC, even the world.”

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Meet Danielle, our Senior Membership and Welcome Desk Associate. Danielle has a background in education, government, and nonprofit work. She comes to Civic Hall from NYC Economic Development Corporation, (NYCEDC) and prior to that, the NYC Department of Education. Danielle has also worked with City Year and AmeriCorps, has a BA in Russian Studies from SUNY Binghamton, and an MA in International Relations from CUNY City College. An avid traveler, in the months between leaving her position at NYCEDC and joining Civic Hall, she made several trips to visit friends and family, while also traveling to Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. You can reach Danielle directly via email.

What Does She Do?

Danielle joined Civic Hall this September. “I am here to make members feel welcome and to help them address issues they may experience in the workspace.”

She is currently working with Fiona Teng, our Director of Membership and Marketing, on the Member Feedback Initiative. (If you haven’t filled out our survey yet, PLEASE DO!

How Did She Get Into This Work?

“Everyone in my family has worked in education. Dad was a principal and assistant superintendent here. Mom was a guidance counselor. Both my sisters were teachers. It’s in the blood.”

Danielle graduated with degrees in government and Russian studies in 2009, as we were in the midst of recovering from the Great Recession. While she had a sense that “Russian would be resurgent,” the job market at the time was… tight. With AmeriCorps she worked out of P.S. 83, the Luis Munoz Rivera School, in Spanish Harlem, and while at City Year she was placed in a 5th-grade class which had a population of immigrants who were unable to receive English language lessons because the school was devastatingly underfunded. Danielle had prior training and a certificate in teaching English as a second language, and took it upon herself to step up: “I decided, ‘I will teach these kids English.’ It was so rewarding. By the end of the school year, they were reading books at the 1st and 2nd-grade levels and were quite attached to me.”

For another 4 1/2 years, Danielle stayed in the “family business.” She served as Parent Coordinator, which acts as a liaison between teachers, administrators, staff, and family. Danielle was the first point of contact when conflict arose. This was a difficult position because while she was an advocate for the community, she was ultimately beholden to the DOE and the school.

Danielle returned to school to earn her Master’s in International Relations and during her last semester was an intern at the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs. “It was the coolest job. Most people are unaware of our tiny office, which has been around since the creation of the United Nations itself. We worked directly across from the U.N. and our constituents included the 70 trade missions to NYC.” Danielle fondly remembers the NYC Junior Ambassadors program – which pairs 7th-grade classrooms with an ambassador – as intersecting her background in education with her love of international relations.

After graduating Danielle joined NYCEDC where, as a program manager, she did research on disruptive technologies and became interested in civic tech over the course of working on its Creative & Applied Technologies team. Danielle’s last project while at NYCEDC was setting up the soon-to-launch Blockchain Center.

How Did She Come to Civic Hall?

Carrie Bronsther, an Associate Vice President at NYCEDC, and Danielle’s teammate worked on NYC BigApps with Civic Hall Labs. During Danielle’s tenure at NYCEDC, she grew increasingly interested in working the civic tech space. “The EDC’s focus wasn’t on clean tech or civic tech, specifically. This is what I wanted to focus on and I am happy I made the jump.”

Danielle has been immediately embraced by the community: “I’m pretty sure at WeWork that people don’t go around introducing themselves to newbies.”

What is she reading?

Another sci-fi geek has joined our ranks: “I am currently reading Philip K. Dick’s Man in the High Castle. The story is unfortunately too relevant…” Danielle is also a great fan of Ray Bradbury and Aldous Huxley.

What Is Her Ask of Civic Hall?

Danielle points out that our community still has a great distance to travel towards diversity and inclusion: “I remember going with my co-worker to an event by a blockchain company. It was massive, and yet everyone was a white guy.

While Danielle was at NYCEDC she heard about the Union Square project from their perspective. Now, she’s interested in learning about it from the Civic Hall side.

“Civic Hall is a workspace, but it’s also a community, and it can be so much more. When I come here, this is the group of people who have my back and support me. We can work together to not just make Civic Hall a better place, but NYC, even the world.”

Welcome to the team, Danielle!