Bethany Rubin Henderson
A visionary activist and developer of civic leaders, my wife Bethany believes that one talented, passionate individual working inside government can change an agency, and that many working together can change a community. In 2007, 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 just over four years, Bethany has grown City Hall Fellows from a one-page sketch to an impactful venture, raising over $3,000,000 from public and private sources. 7 cohorts of Fellows (working in San Francisco, Houston and Baton Rouge) have saved city agencies over $10 million, 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 is an Echoing Green Fellow (2009); a Next American City emerging urban leader (2010); and a former NYC Urban Fellow (1998-99). Most recently, she was named one of the 40 under 40 progressive political entrepreneurs of 2011 by the New Leaders Council. Bethany has her J.D. from Harvard Law School, both a B.A. and M.A. in Political Science (summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Pennsylvania, and has authored or co-authored eight academic and industry journal articles. Most amazing to me is that, in the 4.5 years since founding City Hall Fellows, Bethany has spent 5 months on bedrest (due to pregnancy complications), given birth to two children (one with health problems) and we have moved 3 times (once for my work, once because our landlord was foreclosed on, and once cross-country to be closer to family). Moreover, because we don’t live in any of City Hall Fellows' partner cities, Bethany spends ~25% of her time on the road (usually with a kid in tow) and hires and manages all City Hall Fellows staff remotely. Bethany juggles the tremendous responsibilities of building our family while building this social movement because she passionately believes her work is critically important to our country's future. I agree, and I am proud to be her husband.