Our Leadership Team
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.
Over the course of 12 years as a nonprofit professional, Abbie has proven success in fundraising, event management, financial planning, and database administration primarily for tech-focused nonprofits: from advocacy organizations to capacity builders to workforce development. She has overseen corporate and foundation giving, and launched and managed major donor programs, securing multiple five- and six-figure gifts from all three verticals. Abbie is a recipient of Georgetown University’s Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate, and has earned her Master of Public Administration from George Mason University, Master of Philosophy from American University, and Bachelor of Philosophy from Mount Saint Mary’s University. She is a lifelong resident of the Washington, DC area.
Learn more about Abbie and her favorite cities here.
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.
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.
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.