It is our great pleasure to announce that after an extensive search we have selected a new Executive Director for Next Century Cities: Francella Ochillo. She has the vision and ability to lead the way toward our goal of ensuring that everyone has access to fast, affordable, and reliable broadband.

Most recently the Vice President of Policy and General Counsel for the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Francella Ochillo is a digital rights advocate who is committed to expanding access for underserved and unserved communities. Whether testifying before Congress, meeting with the FCC, or participating in local events across the country, her passion for connecting the disconnected is evident.

Having worked for more than a decade with government and public interest organizations, Francella understands the challenge of getting various stakeholders to support local connectivity solutions. However, she does not see that as a deterrent because she knows what is at stake. Born and raised in Louisiana, a state with some of the nation’s most disconnected communities, Francella has witnessed the struggles of those who cannot get access to or afford broadband. That continues to fuel her interest in this work.

Francella has a strong vision for the future of Next Century Cities. Knowing how broadband access can change outcomes and revitalize communities, she plans to ensure that state and local leaders are given every opportunity to resolve their own connectivity issues. She believes that they have an important voice in shaping federal telecom policies and will work tirelessly to give them a platform.

From supporting knowledge transfer, to finding funding opportunities, to building toolkits, to providing advocacy, Francella is excited to tackle all aspects of the organization’s work. She earned a B.S. in Marketing from Morgan State University and a J.D. from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois. Francella is also a member of the District of Columbia Bar. She loves her brother’s jambalaya, is obsessed with indoor cycling, and has visited over 30 states from the East to West coasts.

Francella will begin her new role on July 8th. In the meantime, if you have questions for the Next Century Cities team about the upcoming transition, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.