Valerie Santos is the first Filipino-American to be appointed as Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development in Washington DC. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty appointed the 36-year-old Fil-Am to the position in June 2009. Santos has been assigned to manage a development pipeline worth more than $13 billion, comprised of public-private housing, retail, office and parks projects throughout the District.
“My father is from Zamboanga and my mother is from Bulacan,” says Santos, who spent a year in the Philippines as a community organizer and a Jesuit volunteer. “I enjoyed working at the grassroots community level,” Santos said. Born and raised in San Francisco, Santos finished college at Santa Clara University. She completed her MBA at Harvard Business School and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She moved to Washington D.C. in 2003. In 2007, she served as the District’s Planning and Economic Development Office’s Chief Operating Officer. Before joining the District government, Santos was a vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle, where she specialized in urban public-private development.
Previously, she was a manager with Ernst & Young’s real estate group and an associate with Hamilton Rabinovitz & Alschuler. In her capacity as Deputy Mayor, she heads the District’s lead agency in coordinating policies and initiatives with respect to af fordable housing, business at traction and retention, workforce and economic development. Santos oversees a cluster of agencies that include the Department of Small and Local Business Development, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Office of Planning and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
Shout-out to Ray for informing us about this accomplished Pinay!