Our Team

Michael Rocco

Executive Director

“Doing well, good.  Doing good, better.”  Those six words are Mike’s personal mission statement.  A native Californian, Mike is passionate about teaching young people how government works and about mentoring emerging civic leaders.  He got his start because others took the time to educate and mentor him.  Mike began his career as a Legislative Aide working with numerous elected officials, then went on to serve as the first full-time Executive Director of the California 4-H Youth Foundation.  Mike also has spent many years bridging the public and private sectors as a consultant.  As a consultant to local government, services Mike provided include: formation and administration of property-based funding mechanisms, creation of constituent education/community feedback programs and advocacy of issues/interests before other agencies. He also provided public affairs, marketing and advocacy services on behalf of youth education/training programs, the construction community, homeowners associations, and green-technology firms.  During his career, Mike has trained thousands of young people and adults on how government works and has led dozens of educational and advocacy trips to Sacramento and Washington, D.C.  Mike started with City Hall Fellows as the San Francisco Program Director and was promoted to Executive Director in 2012.

Mike earned an M.B.A. from St. Mary’s College and a B.A. in Government from California State University, Sacramento.  The parent of two grown children, including a recent United States Air Force Academy graduate, Mike spends his free time assisting programs and services that support the families of Academy appointees or those serving active duty in the military.  Mike makes his (now empty) nest in the Bay Area.

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Tessa EdwardsTessa Edwards

Program Coordinator

Tessa believes that engaging talented young people in government can truly change local communities. She is passionate about facilitating the professional growth of emerging leaders and equipping them to achieve positive change in their community.

Tessa began her career as an AmeriCorps member, completing direct service projects in the San Francisco Bay Area community. These two years of service transformed her view on the world and the impact she wanted to have. Tessa spent 6 years at HandsOn Bay Area (HOBA), a nonprofit organization that engages 50 corporations and 18,000 volunteers each year to serve 200 local nonprofits, schools and government agencies. As Program Director, she supervised the program staff and led all corporate and community programming throughout the Bay Area. She also led HOBA’s Leadership Institute Fellowship Team program, which engages committed community members in a yearlong leadership program. Tessa’s experiences include community organizing, marketing/communications, event planning, grantwriting, facilitation and coaching teams in various settings. She is also the San Francisco Bay Area co-chapter leader of AmeriCorps Alums, and represented the Bay Area at AmeriCorps Alums Day at the White House in August 2012.

Tessa is now a consultant for local nonprofit agencies and corporations. She began at City Hall Fellows in August 2013 and oversees the Civic Leadership Development Program and the day-to-day aspects of the Fellows’ experience. Tessa received a double B.A. from San Francisco State University in Political Science and Speech/Communications.

Also known as resident cookie-baker for her husband’s soccer teams, Tessa enjoys living in the East Bay Area.

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Daniel J. Liss

Selection & Recruitment Coordinator

Daniel belongs to the generation brought up to perceive a distinction between public service and government service.  Having overlooked local government jobs himself after college, Daniel knows all too well both the difficulties in and importance of attracting bright young people to serve in city government.  Since joining the City Hall Fellows team shortly after its founding in 2007, Daniel has provided operational and administrative support. Among his other duties, Daniel has overseen the organization’s financial record-keeping, administers the annual Fellowship selection process and manages all back-office functions. Daniel now coordinates the recruitment and selection process that yields new Cohorts of Fellows each spring and serves on the organization’s Board.  Daniel is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Amherst College, where he was awarded a prestigious research fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.  An avid traveler, Daniel lived and worked in China after graduating college.  Daniel also has worked for the Domestic Violence Services Network in Concord, MA and Health Resources in Action, a public health non-profit in Boston.  A die-hard Red Sox fan, Daniel lives just in Cambridge, MA.

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Bethany Rubin Henderson

Founder

A visionary activist and developer of civic leaders, Bethany believes that one talented, passionate individual working inside government can change an agency, and that many working together can change a community.

In 2008, Bethany launched City Hall Fellows to get the talent snowball rolling. As the first and only non-partisan national service corps for city governments, City Hall Fellows empowers top young talent to help their own cities run better and cheaper. City Hall Fellows prides itself on its proven ability to secure the best young talent, and its highly-regarded, one-of-a-kind, purpose-driven, 300+ hour leadership training program – which prepares Fellows to drive social change through effective local policy innovations and empowers them to be lifelong public leaders.

In less than 5 years, Bethany grew City Hall Fellows from a one-page sketch to an impactful venture, raising over $4M from public and private sources. To date, 8 cohorts of Fellows (working in San Francisco, Houston and Baton Rouge) have saved city agencies over $10M, piloted ground-breaking anti-obesity and renewable energy programs, project managed water conservation, civil service reform and financial system modernization efforts, and much much more.  Over half of alumni remain in city government post-Fellowship; others take on leadership roles at local nonprofits or attend graduate programs at Oxford, Harvard, Georgetown and the like.

To cultivate City Hall Fellows, Bethany opted to leave a successful legal career at Quinn Emanuel, the country’s largest business litigation-only law firm. Her inspiration: spending the year after college on the 5-person team that guided New York City’s transition into the Internet era. As part of a citywide cohort of young policy wonks, Bethany experienced both city government’s far-reaching impact and the enormous social change young people can create working inside city government.

Bethany is widely recognized as a leader and innovator.  She was selected as an Echoing Green Fellow (2009); a member of Next American City emerging urban leadership group Next American Vanguard (2010); a Selah Leadership Program participant (2011); and a NYC Urban Fellow (1998-99). Bethany also was named one of 40 under 40 progressive political entrepreneurs of 2011 by New Leaders Council and babble.com’s 2011 Mom Who Is Changing Your World (Politics). Bethany earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School and both a B.A. and M.A. in Political Science (summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Pennsylvania. She has authored or co-authored 9 academic and industry journal articles and multiple guest blog posts.

However, Bethany is most proud of the two delightful, spunky, curious little girls she and her husband are raising near Washington, DC.

Bethany is currently on sabbatical to serve as a 2012-2013 White House Fellow.

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