Jackson Supporting DEI Efforts for City of Little Rock

Amber D. Jackson (’16) is serving as the Equity Program Manager in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the City of Little Rock.

Established in April 2021 by Mayor Frank Scott, the city’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion uses data-driven decisions to ensure that Little Rock is an equitable place to live, work, and play. The city’s DEI office began with the hiring of Little Rock’s first Chief Equity Officer, Dr. Dionne B. Jackson, last spring. Jackson joined the office in August 2021, completing the team of five.

“As Equity Program Manager, I have hit the ground running, working closely with the Chief Equity Officer to create programs-related systems and processes, including establishing focus areas and benchmarks, developing and green-lighting projects, and monitoring and evaluating our work,” Jackson said.

Other primary functions of Jackson’s role include engaging the community, developing program partnerships, and serving as liaison to Little Rock’s Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission (RCDC).

“I’ve already worked with our team to build a programs budget for the coming year, launch an inclusion and belonging survey, develop an LGBTQ+ community survey, plan and begin implementing a new Equity Labs program, and support RCDC with drafting a 2022 action plan,” Jackson said, reflecting on her first 90 days working in City Hall. “Our office’s strategic plan is in the works for a spring 2022 release.”

Jackson, who also holds a degree in social work from UA Little Rock, said that she enjoys the variety of tasks and workspaces her new position allows.

“Since much of our work in the ODEI is evidence-based, I get to work with a lot of data,” Jackson said. “And, while I have other routine research, planning, and office tasks that need to be completed on a regular basis, I like that my work also involves stepping out from behind my desk and into the community. As a public servant, I naturally require work that is meaningful. I feel incredibly fortunate to wake up each day knowing that I am working to ensure that every Little Rock resident has the opportunity to fulfill their full potential.”

Jackson said that her new roles often allows her to reflect on the lessons she learned at the Clinton School.

“Engaging communities in social change is challenging,” Jackson said. “At UACS, we studied emerging practices and co-creating techniques in the classroom as we were implementing and refining them with others in the field. This experience continues to prove invaluable, as it made me both resilient and innovative – necessary qualities for public servants today.”

Jackson’s time as a student at the Clinton School included a team-based Practicum project with Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. She was part of a team of first-year students who evaluated the impact of the Arkansas No Kid Hungry Campaign, providing results to determine their next steps in reducing food insecurity in the state.

“The Clinton School was also where I learned to work effectively in diverse teams, especially in unpredictable environments and during times of stress,” Jackson said. “Working in teams means anticipating – and meeting – the needs of others, establishing systems that make work easier for everyone, conscientiously communicating, and working through adversity together. I am grateful that during my two years of grad school I developed an understanding of teamwork that goes much deeper than the common buzzword listed on resumes, and I have built upon this understanding through my professional career.”



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