By Mitchelle Stephenson
Siani Butler began her internship with Mayor Gavin Buckley back before he was Mayor.
“I led a group of ‘GavInterns,’” the 19-year-old LaSalle University sophomore said.
During Mayor Buckley’s 2017 run for the top job in the City, Siani said that she wanted to get involved. A family connection parlayed into a campaign internship where she worked on finance, event planning, creating flyers, and leading the young interns. Butler was in high school at that time.
After the hard work of the campaign, Butler recalled, “Election Night 2017 was one of the most exciting nights of my life.”
Once Buckley was elected, Butler continued her involvement. In her final term of high school, she was the first intern on the Mayor’s new staff. She again interned during summer break in 2018 and 2019.
“One of the reasons I ran was to make Annapolis a better place for young people,” said Buckley. “Siani is such a light. She’s making me look great through her dedication to residents and attention to detail. ”
In the small office, Butler is engaged with all elements of activity and all members of the Mayor’s staff.
“I like to see all aspects, the things that need to get done, from big things like the Poplar Train and the 2020 Comprehensive Planning process to letters and emails from constituents,” Butler said.
Hilary Raftovich is the Consituent Services Officer in the Mayor’s office, an office of one that fields all calls from City residents. Constituent Services includes everything from helping residents understand complex legislation to a missed trash pickup.
“Ms. Butler is a constituent service natural, her poise and professionalism in dealing with irate and sometimes challenging constituents is truly impressive,” Raftovich said.
When asked what she doesn’t like about working in the Mayor’s office, she said, “there is nothing I don’t like.”
William Rowel is the Public Engagement/Community Relations Specialist in the Mayor’s office, directing outreach and overseeing community events. Rowel is Butler’s direct supervisor.
“Siani is highly intuitive and observant, which are key components to learning and evolving. I am constantly impressed by her ability to quickly receive and process information,” Rowel said. “In hectic environments, it is not always easy to maintain an optimistic and cheerful outlook on things, but Siani does so with ease. She is reliable, conscientious, tactful, and fastidious.”
At LaSalle University in Philadelphia, Butler is majoring in International Business. After graduation, she hopes to join the Peace Corp and then begin a career as a policy advisor in international politics or working at a nonprofit in the development sector.
Her advice to other young people who want to pursue internships is to “definitely do it,” Butler said.
“Cross boundaries even if it makes you uncomfortable. Make sure you have a resume. Never be afraid to pick up the phone and call,” she said. “You might be the first intern. But don’t be afraid to start something.”
Rowel added, “the world may not be ready for her. I am proud of her parents, her family, and her generation for fostering the maturation of this young woman. She gives me hope.”