Mayor Levar M. Stoney Announces Administration Appointments

Mayor Levar M. Stoney is pleased to announce the following appointments:

Jon Baliles, Senior Policy Advisor for Innovation

In his role, Jon will help the Mayor improve the efficiency and accountability of government operations, increase the city’s economic vitality and growth, and help chart a course for planning the future of our neighborhoods and commercial areas.

Over the course of the last decade, Jon has had the unique experience of serving in all three branches of city government and across multiple departments. He was hired by Mayor Wilder in February 2008 and later served as the Assistant to the Director of Planning and Development Review from January 2009 - July 2012. He resigned his position to successfully run for City Council and served in that capacity from 2013 - 2016.

“Jon brings with him a deep knowledge of City Hall and Richmond and will be an invaluable asset in helping us transform the expectations of city government,” said Mayor Stoney.

In addition to his city service, Jon is also co-founder of the RVA Street Art Festival with local artist Ed Trask and holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a Master’s Degree from George Mason University.

Lisa Speller-Davis, Senior Policy Advisor for Engagement

Lisa will work to build and sustain meaningful relationships with community groups, and the public, to ensure thorough input into decisions that shape our community, in areas such as education, community wealth building, human services, transportation and strengthening regional ties.

“Lisa will play a pivotal role in ensuring that our city becomes One Richmond – a city that works for all, regardless of zip code,” said Mayor Stoney. “Lisa will ensure all relevant stakeholders have the opportunity to contribute to the development of plans and policies that shape our future.”

Lisa is a Registered Nurse, with a diverse background in community–based care, patient care services and in marketing and health education with the managed health care industry in Richmond. As a part of her passion for civic engagement, Lisa started a not-for-profit organization, Community Empowerment Alliance, with a mission to help those most in need by providing access to community resources around the eradication of poverty and the importance of civic engagement through community education.

Lisa attended both Virginia State University and J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College to complete her education as a Registered Nurse. Lisa is also a graduate of the 2016 Class of Emerge Virginia and serves on the boards of NARAL Virginia and Virginia Nurses’ Association.

Dr. Thad Williamson, Senior Policy Advisor for Opportunity

Dr. Williamson is an Associate Professor of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, where he has taught since 2005. His academic work and teaching focuses on social justice, urban politics, and leadership.

Dr. Williamson was lead author of the 2013 Mayor's Anti-Poverty Commission Report and from 2014 - 2016 he served the City of Richmond as the first director of the Office of Community Wealth Building. He also served as Transition Director for Mayor Stoney.

“Thad’s experience and expertise will be critical to our efforts to provide better education and opportunity for our children, and to help lift Richmond out of poverty,” said Mayor Stoney.

He is author, co-author or co-editor of six books, including Sprawl, Justice, and Citizenship: The Civic Costs of the American Way of Life, and numerous book chapters and articles for academic and popular publications. Dr. Williamson holds a bachelor's degree in history and religious studies from Brown University, a master's degree in religion from Union Theological Seminary (New York), and a doctorate in political science from Harvard University. He and his wife, Dr. Adria Scharf, are parents of a fourth grader in Richmond Public Schools.

Rushawna Senior, Senior Assistant to the Mayor

Prior to her appointment, Rushawna served as a Policy Analyst and Legislative Coordinator to Governor Terence R. McAuliffe focusing on Public Safety and Homeland Security as well as Defense and Veteran Affairs issues. She has also served as an Assistant Program Coordinator for the Department of Motor Vehicles while being a drilling reservist in the Army National Guard as a Human Resources Specialist.

“Rushawna’s organizational skills and experience are essential to our ability to have a high-functioning and responsive Mayor’s Office,” said Stoney.

Rushawna graduated from Old Dominion University with her Bachelors of Science in Communication, and is receiving her Master’s in Public Administration from Virginia Tech.