20 Under 40: Jennifer Lleras Van Der Haeghen

City of Eugene

I am driven by the understanding that communities, on a micro and macro level, are intrinsically interconnected. I am guided by the philosophy that we can build stronger and more connected communities when we take people-centered approaches to problem solving and policy development. Every policy, practice and decision has the profound ability to strengthen or weaken communities. I cultivate opportunities for authentic collaboration; I embed Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging into the fabric of my approach; and I lead with curiosity and integrity. These approaches encourage me to slow down, listen for understand and support action that is effective and impactful.

For the past 8 years, I have brought this approach to my work at the City of Eugene. It has been my pleasure and honor to work alongside passionate, smart and dedicated public servants. As the Acting in Capacity Co-Director of the Employee Resource Center, I work to serve our greater community by advancing workforce and professional development, belonging and Emergency Management goals so that the City can deliver critical services across Eugene. This work is directly tied to and has ripple effects in the whole community. When City employees can be at their best at work in service to the community, everyone who lives, works and plays in Eugene benefits.

My family and I choose to call Eugene home. We are invested in the success of this community recognizing that together we can be a community where people experience a genuine sense of belonging and can access opportunity.