Our Leadership Team

Francella Ochillo

Francella Ochillo

Executive Director



Francella’s vision for Next Century Cities is simple – elevate the voices of local officials who are working to expand high-speed connectivity. An attorney and digital rights advocate, Francella has worked on a variety of technology and telecommunications issues with a specific focus on assessing the impact of policy proposals on unserved and underserved communities. Breaking through to various audiences in keynote speeches, agency filings, podcasts, and news outlets like Axios or The Washington Post, Francella helps policymakers and lawmakers recognize the importance of ubiquitous broadband. She is committed to creating opportunities for local leaders to participate in a national dialogue about how to connect every resident in every community. 

A member of the District of Columbia Bar and Federal Communications Bar Association, Francella represents Next Century Cities on the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s Disaster Response and Recovery Working Group. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, and her Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois.

Learn more about Francella and her favorite cities here

Brittany-Rae Gregory

Brittany-Rae Gregory

Communications Director


Brittany-Rae is a communications professional with a passion for using communications, research, and advocacy to address issues plaguing urban communities. She has a wide range of experience in the communications field. Before joining the Next Century Cities team, Brittany-Rae served as a press secretary in the U.S. House of Representatives. Brittany-Rae has also held communications roles within the federal government, nonprofit organizations, corporate communications departments, and higher education. She previously taught in the communications departments at the University of Maryland and Howard University. 

Brittany-Rae completed her Ph.D. in Communications, Culture, and Media Studies at Howard University where she examined the intersection of urban development, community relations, and higher education. She received her M.S. in Mass Communications from Middle Tennessee State University and her  B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Wellesley College. 

Learn more about Brittany-Rae and her favorite cities here

Ryan Johnston

Ryan Johnston

Policy Counsel


Before coming to Next Century Cities, Ryan Johnston completed a legal fellowship with the Computer and  Communications Industry Association where he focused on a range of issues including telecommunications, intellectual property, and data privacy. Additionally, he has worked for the Competition and Infrastructure Division at the Federal Communications Commission and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Ryan, a member of the Pennsylvania Bar, received his Juris Doctor from American University Washington College of Law where he served on the editorial board of the National Security Law Brief. Ryan completed his undergraduate degree at Franklin & Marshall College where he studied Government and Business Management.

Learn more about Ryan and his favorite cities here

Lukas Pietrzak

Lukas Pietrzak

Policy Associate



With Next Century Cities, Lukas Pietrzak previously served as Membership Manager and has assumed a new role as Policy Associate. As Policy Associate, Lukas will continue to work with our members, elevating their voices in national connectivity discussions while connecting them to resources and opportunities that help achieve local connectivity goals.
Lukas has helped address technology policy issues for the last three years as a student, research assistant, and policy fellow. A recent graduate of the University of Virginia, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Studies and conducted research on local government solutions to the digital divide. Lukas is a Master of Public Policy student at Georgetown University where his work focuses on broadband policy, digital inclusion, and technology policy. At Georgetown, Lukas delivered a lecture at TEDxGeorgetown about the history of municipal networks from electric grids to fiber optic networks.
Learn more about Lukas and his favorite cities here
Medvis Jackson

Medvis Jackson



The newest member of the New Century Cities team, Medvis Jackson is uncovering stories that highlight the impact of high-speed internet access in American cities. He is a social capital expert who specializes in connecting individual community members with critical resources. 

In addition to co-founding the music and technology content series, #TheDigilogue, his background in digital marketing, research and program management has, within two years, aided projects in Detroit to raise over $1.3 million of financial investment into local startups, as well as to administer over $50,000 of publicly-funded technical assistance to early-stage entrepreneurs. In his free time, he volunteers with brick-and-mortar business owners in Detroit’s Northwest side, helping them to strengthen their online presence and to access additional public resources.

Medvis completed his undergraduate studies at Colgate University and is an avid cricket player. 

Our Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board is comprised of policy leaders from member communities and organizations across the country. The Board offers valuable guidance on issues relating to Next Century Cities policies. Find our full Advisory Board here.