CivicPlus® created its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) committee to elevate our collective understanding of issues and challenges facing our BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, veteran, female, and disabled populations while also creating an internal culture that fosters equity and a sense of belonging and purpose for all. To showcase the amazing individuals from these identity groups who work at CivicPlus, we’re telling their stories, hoping to inspire other innovators, glass-ceiling breakers, and too often marginalized voices to step up and stand out. In our first blog, we focus on women who bring their expertise and knowledge from their time working in local government and are now leading our efforts to build solutions that help make government work better.
Former City Clerk Megan Asikainen Leads Agenda and Meeting Management Innovation
Two-time local government clerk, Megan Asikainen, now works at CivicPlus as a solutions manager. As a small-population village clerk for the Village of Riverview, Missouri, Megan wore many hats. Her tasks ranged from issuing permits, collecting payments, to planning public meetings. In 2011, Megan transitioned to her role as city clerk for Ferguson, Missouri. In 2014, after the community experienced civil unrest following an officer-involved shooting, Megan went into action to accommodate an increase in public attendance to council meetings. For over a year, her staff video streamed and worked with a larger venue to host public meetings, ensuring ample opportunity for public attendance. During periods of civil unrest, Megan used CivicReady® to alert members of the community about which roadways were closed to through traffic due to increased activity and to communicate other critical public safety information.
Megan stated, “residents appreciated the proactive alerts and direct communication from the city, rather than having to rely on social media or local news for accurate and timely information.”
After five years of working for Ferguson, Megan took what she learned in her role as a local
government leader and began her career at CivicPlus as a sales engineer, helping sales demonstrate and communicate how CivicPlus solutions help local governments across the country. Megan shares her experiences about the support she received from CivicPlus during unprecedented events within their community with potential customers.
In her current role as a solutions manager, Megan said, “I use my knowledge as a former clerk to help release enhancements to the CivicClerk® solution that fix pain points others might face in their workflows.”
During the migration from CivicClerk 7 to CivicClerk 8, Megan developed a client-facing migration training that outlined critical steps in the migration process, let customers know what to expect, and answered questions she felt might be asked, easing customers' minds.
When asked if Megan had any advice for women going into the technology or public sector fields, she said, “I encourage mentorship for women going into these fields. It’s important to have colleagues whom you can learn from and always be continuing your education.”
Before moving into her role as solutions manager for the CivicPlus agenda and meeting management solution category, Megan mentored her replacement sales engineer, who in turn mentored her replacement on the team.
Julie Lovelace’s Legal Expertise Helps Continually Shape Industry Leading Codification Services
Director of the CivicPlus code department (formerly Municode) Julie Lovelace previously worked as a senior assistant county attorney for Leon County, Florida. In that position, Julie spent significant time in commission meetings, reviewing contracts, and drafting ordinances. One project that Julie tackled was the recodification of Leon County’s code of ordinances. The County chose to work with Municode, now powered by CivicPlus, the nation’s leading codifier. Julie learned about the recodification process and its importance for local governments and their communities during the project. After 11 years, Julie retired from her position as county attorney and began working in her community as a program director for Leadership Tallahassee. After another 11 years, she accepted a position at Municode as a code attorney and then moved into a leadership position as vice president of the code department.
In her role at Municode, and now her current role at CivicPlus, Julie said, “I use my experience as a former customer to advise local governments during their codification and recodification projects. My unique insight helps to alleviate stressors and make the process easy for customers.”
“Just go for it!” Julie said when asked for her advice for women wanting to work in the public sector or in technology. “I know the fields are predominately filled with men, but women can step outside their comfort zones and break barriers in the industries.”
Brittani Frost-Shank Transitions from Creating Positive Civic Experiences in Her Community to Leading Positive Customer Experiences at CivicPlus
Manager of Business Development, Brittani Frost-Shank, spent three years as the customer service representative at Riley County, Kansas. Her department helped take some of the stress off its DMV by taking on certain community services such as vehicle registration, paying taxes and fees, or handling renewals. During her time at Riley County, Brittani learned most of the roles in her office and supported her fellow administrative leaders wherever possible.
In her current role at CivicPlus, she said, “I use my experience working in a local government office to relate to customers. I recognize the pain points they face in their everyday workflows and share the convenience that CivicPlus products bring.
"I like to share that I’ve been in our customers' shoes, and I’m here to help make their jobs
When Brittani moved into the technology industry after working in the public sector, she noticed many men filled the positions around her.
Brittani said, “I encourage more women to join the technology sector and to be confident in their skills and qualifications to fill open positions.”
She also highlighted the importance of learning from other women in the industry, especially leaders.
Keep an eye out for the next blog in our Voices of CivicPlus series as we continue to highlight the individuals who help CivicPlus create more positive civic experiences for local governments across the country.