Dustin R. Daniels

MSc in Development Management, 2013
Chief of Staff - Office of the Mayor, City of Tallahassee

Why did you choose LSE, and why did you choose your programme of study?

I chose LSE because of the internationally recognized academic programs and its preeminent position among social science research institutions around the world.

Overall, how do you look back on your LSE experience?

I look back on my time at LSE very favorably. In addition to loving my academic experience, the opportunity to build relationships with some of the most accomplished students from around the world was truly edifying.

How has your academic profile and work experience helped your career path?

As an undergraduate student, I worked for several international non-profits in East Africa and Central America, and completed two research theses focused on public policy issues in the developing world. I then worked in Washington, D.C. for a progressive advocacy and research organization attempting to support a network of over 700 elected officials from all levels of government around the U.S.

At LSE, I worked on two live consultancy projects focused on financial development in Sub-Saharan Africa, and social innovation in Sri Lanka.

I now work in the Mayor's Office in the Capital City of the State of Florida, the country's third largest state. I also serve as a lecturer in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University.

Why did you choose your current job?

I chose this job because of the multifarious nature of the responsibilities, and the real opportunity it gives to create real and structural change in the lives of a large number of people. I deal with everything from electric utility issues, to airport development, to the re-settlement of Syrian refugees.

What does your current role involve?

My role is to versee the day-to-day activities of the Office, serve as the chief policy adviser to the Mayor, and work closely with city leadership in the development and implementation of internal and external policies for a full service government of 2900 employees, a budget of over $700million, and over 30 departments including both electric and underground utilities and an International Airport.

Also, I direct all state and federal lobbying efforts on behalf of the City, including the pursuit of appropriation and grant opportunities, as well as defensive efforts that maintain home rule and prevent preemption. 

Another responsibility of mine is to advance the Office’s policy priorities which include issues like building a local quality rating system for early childhood education; strategically using public purchasing policies to enable the small business and start-up community; helping non-profits drive better outcomes through improved impact assessments; assisting the resettlement and support of international refugees; and re-directing and rehabilitating at-risk youth through professional development.

What advice do you have for LSE students who are looking to enter a similar profession to you?

I recommend choosing a community that you really love. The work is sometimes high-stress and high-stakes, but it offers substantive opportunities to impact the community where you live.

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