2018-2020 Council Members

Meet your elected 2018-2020 GSMO Leadership Council! Their two-year term involves supporting the strategic direction of GSMO, assisting with planning regional member meetups and so much more. View our Operations Plan to find a full description of the Leadership Council’s role.

 

Northwest

The Northwest region represents members who work for agencies in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

Warren Kagarise

Digital Engagement Manager – King County, WA

At King County, I serve as the point person for our digital civic engagement — connecting America’s 13th-largest county and our 2.2 million residents via social media, email, text messages, a digital town hall and other tools. I work closely with colleagues at all levels to coach, create, measure and advance the ways King County interacts with our community. I also serve as the lead for the flagship @KingCountyWA Facebook and Twitter accounts. Another top priority is promoting digital equity, by leveraging technology to create a culture of inclusiveness for our region's diverse audiences.

In the Pacific Northwest, we’re fortunate to live in a hub of social gov, where many public agencies have the freedom to innovate and our audiences expect our social presence to be at the forefront of customer service. I want to help showcase the outstanding work coming out of agencies in our region and, more importantly, connect established leaders in the field with peers interested in improving the way their organizations use social to connect with their communities.

In my professional role, I work every day to share with my colleagues my passion for community engagement, creative storytelling and innovation. I have been fortunate to share my experience with peers nationally and internationally — and I would bring the same commitment to the GSMO Council and the organization’s members. I strongly believe in bringing a sense of fun to digital engagement. (In my previous position at the City of Issaquah, I routinely dressed up as Sasquatch or a giant salmon to create social content.)

Leadership Positions
  • Washington Emergency Public Information Network, Board of Directors (January 2016-December 2017)
  • Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, Board of Directors (October 2013-May 2017)
Awards, Honors and Accomplishments
  • Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties, Digital Counties Survey, Third Place (2018)
  • Center for Digital Government, Government Experience Awards, Second Place (2018)
  • City-County Communications & Marketing Association (3CMA), Promotional Video, Savvy Award (2015)
  • 3CMA, Overall Website, Award of Excellence (2015)
  • 3CMA, Most Creative Activity with Least Dollars Spent, Savvy Award (2014)
  • 3CMA, Social Media, Award of Excellence (2014)

Twitter: @wkagarise
LinkedIn: Warren Kagarise
Instagram: wkagarise

 

Midwest

The Midwest region represents members who work for agencies in the states of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Jessie Brown

Social Media Manager & Communications – Iowa Department of Natural Resources

I lead social media efforts for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, with other duties as assigned - including providing communications guidance for our Land Quality and Water Quality bureaus, copy editing Iowa Outdoors magazine, and occasionally catching fish or rounding up and banding Canada geese. Iowa DNR social media content is seen, on average, almost 2 million times by almost 1 million people weekly and has garnered local and national awards. I’ve grown our followings from 2,500 on Facebook in 2012 to almost 120,000 today, and launched new forays on Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. That also leads to responding to around 500 messages weekly - thank goodness for gifs. The days that bring me the most joy as a social media leader are when I’m holding a camera in a state park cave, fishing, or even standing next to a rattlesnake (yeah, I did that), connecting Iowans to their natural resources through Facebook Live.

Too often, the “social” is lost for pros in social media - we’re often teams of one, or seemingly an island unrepresented by professional groups. We go it alone many times, but it’s critical to have a community to share ideas and research, grow professionally and work through frustrating and tough issues unique to government social media. In my time with GSMO and as a board member of Social Media Club Des Moines, it’s been the people and the community that have proven to be most valuable. I’m a Midwesterner through and through, born, raised, educated and employed in Iowa (Go Hawks; no, I do not drive my tractor to work). I’m also the only state govie on the council, bringing that unique perspective. I look forward to helping our members grow professionally, to make self-care a priority in an increasingly taxing yet rewarding field, and to also learn from them.

Leadership Positions
  • Co-Executive Director, Social Media Club Des Moines, 2017-2019
  • Social Media Club Des Moines board member, 2016-2017
  • Speaker at national 2018 NATOA conference, Iowa Tourism conferences, local workshops and more
Awards, Honors and Accomplishments
  • Social Media Professional of the Year (Gold), Social Media Club Des Moines, 2017
  • Numerous Hashie Awards, presented by Social Media Club Des Moines, 2015-2018, for overall social media presence, best social media customer service, best live video, Facebook non-profit, Twitter non-profit, Pinterest non-profit, Instagram non-profit
  • Online Community Engagement, Association for Conservation Information (first place 2013, 2014, 2016; second place 2017)

Personal
Twitter: @jbrownsocial
LinkedIn: Jessie Brown

Agency
Facebook: @iowadnr
Twitter: @iowadnr
Instagram: @iowadnr

 

Northeast

The Northeast region represents members who work for agencies in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

Nick Smith

Digital Content Specialist – City of Gaithersburg, MD

I create, format & publish text, graphics & video, for social media, signage, web, print & more. I'm responsible for the content on each of our government's social media profiles. I administer 20+ others across different City departments and facilities, and I regularly train the admins of those profiles in social media best practices. I also appear on-camera, interviewing people about City programs, as well as solo in news broadcasts and a series in which I detail, in plain English, the matters before our Mayor & Council — but most importantly, I humanize local government every day.

Despite the concentration of government entities in the National Capital Region, there aren't a lot of Gismos here. In fact, there are 16 states & DC in this region, representing nearly one-third of the US population, and the reason for that is that we just don't have as many members here as we should. This region means a lot to me — I grew up in Kentucky, I went to school in New York, and now that I live and work in Maryland, I'd like to spearhead an effort to make Government Social Media a major factor in all of those places, as well as the entire Northeast and all the people that make it up.

As a member of ELGL, I've written many articles about the problems we face as young people with big ideas. As the keynote at their national conference this year, I presented to government professionals of all types on how to interpret data on social media. I presented at the most recent GSMCON, and was invited to reprise my presentation for ArchiveSocial as well as multiple PIO groups.

I'm already a strong ambassador for social gov and a top-100 local gov influencer, and I want to give back because GSMO has given me — us — so much.
Awards, Honors and Accomplishments
  • Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) Top 100 Local Government Influencer (2017)
Twitter: @novalsi

 

Southeast

The Southeast region represents members who work for agencies in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Mary McGuire

Communications & Digitial Media Coordinator – City of Boca Raton

Responsible for the planning, graphic creation, posting and day-to-day management of the social media calendar for the City's very active main accounts - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Nextdoor, Pinterest & LinkedIn. Lead and collaborate with City departments to present unified messaging/branding for initiatives ranging from hurricane emergencies to seasonal programming. Provide training, support & oversight for 50+ city-wide accounts and 40+ staff. Including monthly reporting & communication updates to staff via email, one-on-one trainings & presentations.

Everyone says, "I have a passion for social media."

But, I'm passionate about learning, listening and sharing. I come from the school of "the more you share, the more you get." When I found GSMO, it was like winning the professional lottery! This incredible organization of men and women working towards the common goal of communicating and supporting their communities has been amazing! I know so many agencies that are still trying to find their footing with social. A few in my state have reached out. It has been one of the most rewarding parts of my career to help get them off and running.

I want to grow our Gismo community in the SE and strengthen the organziation to have an even stronger voice for our agencies, and our profession as a whole. (Breaking the stereotype, "Oh, so you do Facebook for a living, huh?) Whether it's advocating for our members with the platforms, having an "open door policy" for my region's challenges & questions, sharing best practices or recognizing their efforts...big or small....we ALL win. AND...ask anyone...I love me a road trip! City Halls and Roadside America stops in 9 states...happiness.

Leadership Positions
  • Selection Committee Member ELGL/Cartegraph Clarity Award (2018)
  • GovLoop Ambassador (2017-2018)
Awards, Honors and Accomplishments
  • Graphic Design for the Non-Designer webinar for Archive Social (May 2018)
  • What's Next...Nextdoor webinar for FL League of Cities & FL Municipal Communicators Assoc. (August 2018)
  • "Local Alerts" participant in Facebook Beta Test Group
  • Grew City's main Facebook account from 1,500 fans to over 35,000 in just over 2 years.

Personal
Twitter: @marytakesphotos
LinkedIn: Mary McGuire

Agency
Facebook: @BocaRatonCity
Twitter: @CityofBocaRaton
Instagram: citybocaraton

 

Southwest

The Southwest region represents members who work for agencies in the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Jay Socol

Director of Communications – City of College Station, Texas

I oversee media relations, public relations and marketing for the City of College Station, which is home to Texas A&M University and the majority of its 65,000+ students. Our department's primary strategy is to make information useful and timely to citizens, and to fulfill our mission: We Care. We Listen. We Respond. Social media (and social listening) is an integral part of our overall strategy, with emphasis on traditional platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but also with less-common, city-deployed social tools such as blogging (WordPress) and podcasting (YouTube, SoundCloud).

I believe strongly in GSMO's mission and the networking/learning experiences offered through its annual conferences and online assets. I've had the privilege of working alongside GSMO leadership and peers to plan a conference, I've presented twice, and I've made lasting professional and personal connections through these experiences. Countless others have more knowledge in social spaces than I have but, as a communications director, I want to be an advocate for strategic social media use within government agencies AND a champion for highly trained people to perform those jobs.

While I do actively work within several social platforms, I've empowered my team to strategically use social media to share information, listen to what others are saying to (or about) us, and increase our city's transparency. If I can, through this leadership role, serve as an advocate for other agencies to use social platforms as two-way communication channels to benefit their customers/audience, then I sincerely believe I'm clearing a path for the next generation of communication professionals.

Leadership Positions
  • President, Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers (TAMIO) (2016-2018)
  • President, Texas A&M Dept. of Communication Alumni Advisory Board (2016-2017)
  • Advisory Team, GSMCON (2016)
  • Vice President, TAMIO (2014-2016)
  • Treasurer, TAMIO (2012-2014)

Twitter: @jaysocol

 

West

The West region represents members who work for agencies in the states of California, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.

Chris Hsiung