Today, we put our spotlight on CMBG3’s Chenelle Brown, the firm’s Director of Government Affairs and Public Relations. Chenelle was recently voted in as the newest Board member of the Alliance for Business Leadership, a non-partisan coalition of CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders who work together and steer public policy conversations for Massachusetts. In this spotlight feature, Chenelle talks to us a bit about her role as a Board member, the goals of the Alliance for Business Leadership, and some of the issues the Board is tackling at the moment.
Chenelle, first of all, congratulations on your recent accomplishment of becoming a member of the Board of the Alliance for Business Leadership! To start, could you tell us a bit about the Alliance and its core mission?
The Alliance for Business Leadership is a non-partisan coalition of CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders at all levels who share a common belief that social responsibility and the sustainable growth of the Massachusetts economy can go hand in hand. So, these are businesses and community leaders that have a commitment to corporate social responsibility and seeing Massachusetts grow.
Is the Alliance a “think tank” for policy change? Or does the Alliance in some way advocate for change to policy?
It’s kind of both. We bring coalitions of community leaders (including political leaders, business leaders, and leaders of nonprofit organizations) together and we try to address some of the important opportunities and challenges that we face in Massachusetts and across the nation. Some of the key things that we focus on are housing and how it impacts the economy of Massachusetts, and how lack of affordable housing negatively impacts people’s ability to be employed and get the kind of jobs that they want to have. Climate change is another issue that is addressed by the Alliance – for example, sustainable transportation and how that impacts the job market and people’s quality of life. Also, diversity and equity issues are an important initiative of Alliance, especially at the moment.
As a member of the Board, what is your role in helping to accomplish the mission or goals of the Alliance?
In my role, I have the opportunity to help guide the organization and set priorities. So, as we think about different committees and what we want to focus on in the months and years ahead, I’m part of those conversations. I also help in thinking about who we want to bring into the organization to support our work, who we might want to partner with for our initiatives, and I also help identify different issues we might want to take a stand on or elevate our voice on.
How did you become a member of the Board?
Prior to being asked to join the Alliance for Business Leadership’s board, I served as a member of their housing committee for several months. I quickly became quite active on the committee, but additionally I found myself in regular communication with the Executive Director and the Chair of the Board about various ideas and opportunities to help advance the Alliance’s mission and grow its membership. So, my regular communication with the Board leadership ultimately led to me being invited to join the Board.
How does your position as a Board member tie into your role as the Director of Government Affairs and Public Relations at CMBG3 Law?
My position on the Board really helps to communicate the values that I hold dear, including a commitment to promoting corporate social responsibility. However, it also helps me to connect with like minded business, community and political leaders and that is absolutely useful for our goals.
What is your experience with government and community relations, even prior to joining CMBG3?
Prior to joining CMBG3, I worked for one the nations largest managers of affordable housing helping them to advocate for state and federal housing resources, and to develop and strengthen relationships in communities in which they sought to do business. I also played a key role in helping the company demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility and I helped them lead a lot of their philanthropic initiatives. One of my roles was also to help them organize and report on their annual impact within communities across the nation.
How does your extensive background with housing issues in particular lend itself to serving groups or coalitions that CMBG3 partners with for advocacy?
What I am able to do is bring my perspectives to the table and I have also developed a lot of relationships among developers in the community, among residents in affordable housing, and community leaders. So, I can help introduce the firm to potential partners with which it may not already have strong relationships. I am also committed to helping the firm develop the appropriate stance on particular issues and help them identify partners that elevate the work.
For more information about Chenelle or her role with CMBG3 as the Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, please visit us. If you would like to speak with Chenelle about her expertise, experience, work with the Board for the Alliance for Business Leadership, or her work on government affairs matters for CMBG3, please contact her (firstname.lastname@example.org).