Smash Appointed As Yonkers First Equity Officer


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YONKERS – Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano announced his appointment of diversity and inclusion specialist Sonja Smash as the City’s first-ever Equity Officer. Smash will lead efforts to create new administrative procedures and policies that proactively implement strategies promoting equity and inclusion in the City of Yonkers.

“I am excited to welcome Sonja and this new position to our administration,” said Mayor Spano. “As we continue to celebrate diversity in Yonkers, Sonja’s expertise coupled with her enthusiasm will bring unlimited possibilities to better diversifying our workforce and ensuring our policies are accessible and equitable for all.”

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano (left) announced his appointment of diversity and inclusion specialist Sonja Smash (center) as the City’s first-ever Equity Officer. Photo: Maurice Mercado
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano (left) announced his appointment of diversity and inclusion specialist Sonja Smash (center) as the City’s first-ever Equity Officer. Photo: Maurice Mercado

As the City of Yonkers Equity Officer, Smash will develop a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) strategy for the City to fully integrate into the City’s culture, mission and operations and will recommend policies and programs related to recruitment, hiring, retention, promotion, training and outreach in support of DEIA. Smash also will collaborate with the City of Yonkers’ Health Equity Taskforce in the City’s approach to reducing and improving access to better health.

Smash joins the City of Yonkers with over 10 years of human resources and diversity and inclusion experience. Currently, Smash serves as Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging/Business Operations for Gigi Gilliard Development where she provides solutions-focused HR guidance and collaborates with cross-functional teams on key DEI initiatives and training. Previously, Smash was Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and served as Manager of Higher Education and Communications for Say Yes to Education. Smash holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science in Communications from College of New Rochelle. She is also certified in Diversity & Inclusion by ESSEC, the National Equity Project and Rutgers University. Smash is currently pursuing a Diversity and Inclusion Professional Certificate from Cornell University.

Sonja Smash, City of Yonkers Equity Officer with Mayor Spano. Photo: Maurice Mercado
Sonja Smash, City of Yonkers Equity Officer with Mayor Spano. Photo: Maurice Mercado

Sonja Smash commented, “Thank you, Mayor Spano for this pioneering appointment, I’m honored to be the City’s first Equity Officer. I am passionate about the work of Equity and Inclusion and I look forward to partnering with the Mayor and his administration, the Health Equity Taskforce and, City stakeholders to foster a more inclusive and equitable city for all.

I applaud Mayor Spano for taking this extraordinary step in the City’s journey towards equity and inclusion. This journey will require courageous conversations and transformational transparency to close the equity gaps. This journey is ‘OUR’ journey, and we are committed to working with residents and stakeholders across the city to bring about equitable and sustainable impact for all.”

Smash began her new position with the City of Yonkers on June 1st.

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