Summer Stories: Alice Maggio Explores NYC’s Strategic Policy Initiatives

I worked this summer as an intern on the team of New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives, Phil Thompson. Deputy Mayor Thompson was, until March, a professor at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. He was appointed by Mayor de Blasio to bring his thinking on civic infrastructure and economic democracy to the city. As part of my internship, I got to work with the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, where they have an initiative called “Best for NYC” that supports small and medium sized businesses in the city to adopt and advance “high road business practices” that create better quality jobs for New Yorkers.

Team SPI at Snug Harbor Staten Island

I was able to do some story telling for them, and wrote an article about their business development program called the Business Peer Exchange, which has been published on B The Change’s Medium site. I also wrote a series of business profiles that celebrate the businesses that are participating in the Best for NYC program. Those will be published over the course of this month. It was great to be able to talk directly to business owners in the city who are choosing to go above and beyond in serving their community and employees, and it was awesome to see the city collaborating with those business owners and supporting them. The work was great, but probably the best part of the internship was my fantastic coworkers and the other interns!

Alice Maggio is a 2nd year in UEP’s MA Program. Want to share a story about your summer internship work? Email the editors. 

Excerpt from Alice’s Medium article “The Bronx Collaborative: Companies Commit Together to Transform Job Quality”:

“When you embark on a business venture, you can become obsessed,” says Aishah Coleman, owner of AC Design and Development in the Bronx. And when you become obsessed, Coleman says, “you can become isolated. You can think that you’re the only one going through something.”

But Coleman’s participation in the Bronx Collaborative’s Business Peer Exchange has changed that. “It’s great to come out from behind your computer and to share insights with other business owners,” says Coleman, whose architecture and interior design business is in the midst of a significant growth spurt.

Business owners are rarely able to participate in the kind of deep transformational process that the Business Peer Exchange provides. A flexible facilitation style allows each participant to engage and learn in their own way, taking away the lessons that they need most.

For Coleman, the revelation was that it is all right to show vulnerability. As a woman of color in a business still dominated by men, she has always felt the need to show strength. But over the course of the Business Peer Exchange process, Coleman says, participating business owners grow to trust each other and begin to feel comfortable showing vulnerabilities and solving problems together.”