After nearly four years as the director of strategic initiatives and communications at University City District, Alissa Weiss will join the staff of Benefits Data Trust as the director of partnerships July 24.
Weiss reached out to Generocity with the news on July 18, and we conducted a quick Q&A with her about this power move.
Generocity: What drew you to the job at BDT? What do you hope to accomplish while you are there?
Weiss: I was drawn to BDT first and foremost because of the mission dedicated to helping people access the benefits and services they need to thrive. The organization is a unique combination of direct service, innovation, and policy, and as a public health person, I’ve been excited by how much they’re using a social determinants of health framework.
I’ve been watching BDT’s growth with a lot of interest — it’s clear to me that the team uses a lot of rigor and creativity in expanding access to benefits in a number of states. The interview process only confirmed that — it’s an amazing, sharp group of people.
In my role at BDT, I hope to forge strong partnerships with city and state governments, health systems, community based organizations and funders in order to expand and deepen BDT’s impact.
Generocity: How will it be different from the work you did at University City District? Are there any similarities? What made you decide that the time was right for you to leave UCD?
Weiss: I was lucky to be with UCD for nearly four years, where I worked with incredible people and learned so much as director of strategic initiatives and communications. My work at BDT will be focused on building and sustaining partnerships, and I suspect I will use my strategic communications hat every day — it’s a skill-set that allows you to connect with different audiences, make a case for your organization, and move individuals and partners to action.
My degree is in public health and I worked in health and human services policy in NYC, so I was really excited by the opportunity to return to that world.
Generocity: Tell me about the professional trajectory that puts you at BDT at this particular moment in your life, and when do you start? What excites you the most about this?
Weiss: From volunteer work, to academics, to my career, I’ve oriented my life around issues of access and opportunity, and feel like this role is a perfect combination of the things I care about.
From our Partners
I went to grad school for public health with a focus on food access, but also took classes outside the public health school to connect the dots between health, housing, urban redevelopment, etc. After grad school, I worked in local government in NYC, first overseeing food and health policy for the former speaker of City Council, and then working in the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development.
After four years in NYC, I was ready to move back home to Philly, and was lucky enough to land at an economic development organization where my communications responsibilities prepared me to think strategically about organizational growth and partnerships.
I think a partnerships role is ideal for someone who, like me, loves working with teams — both internal and external — to build consensus and take ideas from concept to reality. I start next Wednesday [July 24], and I couldn’t be more excited!
Generocity: Tell us a little about yourself, not just your academic and/or professional background, but your life.
Weiss: I grew up just outside Philadelphia, have lived in the city for most of my adult life, and am passionate about enjoying the charm, quirks and joys of the city while also tackling its many challenges (namely — poverty). I moved back home four years ago, and I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
I am a mentor with the amazing college access program, Philadelphia Futures, and I run a young professionals group that supports Covenant House PA (the largest provider of services for homeless, runaway and trafficked youth).
I live in South Philly, and love living in close proximity to family and friends.-30-
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