Natalie Nguyen-Woodruff

What is your work focused on?
My current work is focused on engaging with county-wide diverse community groups and residents by troubleshooting issues they may have with communication, policy, or processes. As a team, we also recommend public policies and executive actions to change things for the betterment of the residents and workforce

How long have you been doing this work? And what motivated you to do this work?
I’ve been in my current job as Fairfax County Board of Supervisor Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay’s Director of Partnership Community Engagement for the past two years. My motivation every day is making sure diverse community members have access to local government, regardless of their income or immigration status. I believe local governments make the biggest impact on people’s lives. Every day, I am grateful to be doing this work, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

What is your theme song today?

Describe your dream holiday if money was no limit?
If money was not a limit, I would like to bring my entire family (immediate and extended) back to my home country in Vietnam. My family immigrated to America when I was five years old and have worked very hard their entire life. They do not take any vacation so doing this together would probably be emotional and fulfilling for all of us. Plus, Vietnam’s tourism has exploded in the last decade. It has grown to such a beautiful place for people to visit and the food is amazing (and still cheap, for now)!

What is the most exciting thing you have worked on or work you are most proud of?
The work that I am the proudest of during the COVID-19 Pandemic is ensuring that there are equity lenses in every decision that Fairfax County made in the past year and a half. We shifted county resources to make sure the communities that were hit the hardest with the pandemic had access to food, health, housing, and more. We expanded Paid Family Leave for public employees, created flexible telework options, provided additional funds and assistance to the public school system, targeted grants for minority small businesses owners, and helped nonprofits who were normally not at the table, have a seat.

How has VAPLP impacted your leadership journey?
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be in the first (trial) group. We have built a strong relationship with one another. I have won my union campaigns, elected officials’ hearts, and moved people with how I tell my story now. Most importantly, I am so grateful to have a circle of mentors, mentees, and progressive folks across the Commonwealth to do this work with. You all are my real inspiration every day!

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