Salt Lake City

Ashley Cleveland Named Deputy Chief of Staff by Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall

SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall today announced the addition of Ashley Cleveland to her Senior Staff. Cleveland will take on the role of Deputy Chief of Staff immediately.

“I’m very excited to have Ashley joining my senior staff. She’s got a dynamic background and brings a level of knowledge and spirit of innovation that will help the City to achieve goals and progress in a way that benefits our residents,” Mayor Mendenhall said.

Working under the Chief of Staff Rachel Otto, Cleveland will help to manage some of the City’s most important initiatives and projects. Cleveland will also be engaged with boards, community groups and civic organizations on behalf of the Mayor’s Office.

“I am enlivened to be of service to Salt Lake City and our Mayor. As a resident who cares deeply about combining the intelligence of many to achieve ongoing group adaptation, I see it requires persistence and humble dedication to build trust and community. I’m honored to witness this part of Salt Lake City’s narrative and I am looking forward to working under Rachel Otto,” Cleveland said.

 “Ashley’s lens on equitable, sustainable, community-informed development will be an incredible asset to the Mayor’s Office and to the City as a whole. I’m grateful to her for devoting her experience and talent to public service during this era of intense growth and change in our City,” Otto said. 

More about Ashley Cleveland:

Cleveland is an ecologist turned city planner whose expertise and focus on equity and representation have formed her dynamic approach to seeking out opportunities to progress and evolve. 

She earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science & Resource from California State University Channel Islands, after which she moved to Utah in 2014 and completed a master’s degree in City & Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah.

While in her master’s program, Cleveland was part of an Urban Design class which explored urban design principles, resources, and services for people experiencing homelessness in the state. She used her personal experience with chronic homelessness in her childhood to design a resource center for families experiencing homelessness.

While still enrolled in school, Cleveland took a position as research and community engagement assistant with Salt Lake City Corporation.

In 2017 Cleveland went on to make history by becoming the first Black woman city planner in Utah when she took a position as Millcreek’s first Planner 1. There she launched Promise, a partnership between Millcreek and the United Way of Salt Lake City aimed at mobilizing and supporting success for youth and families in Millcreek, with specific goals related to health, safety, economic well-being, and education.

She’s a founding member and sits on the board of directors for CurlyMe!, an organization focused on families with children of color, specifically black girls between the ages of 5-14 years, with the goal of providing mentoring opportunities to help educate, empower and encourage girls to be their best selves. She is also on the board of trustees for Tracy Aviary, a Governor’s Outdoor Recreation Advisory Board member, and is Utah’s only Outdoor Afro Leader. Cleveland is also a mother.


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