Kirby Clark

Hosting the county’s daily “Arlington Today” social media show with an adoptable guinea pig from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

Kirby Clark
Communications Specialist
Police Department
Arlington County, VA

Favorite Music

Florida Georgia Line’s May We All.

Challenge

Although Arlington County (adjoining DC) was named Best “City” for millennials (who make up 30-40% of its population) by Niche.com, the demographic seemed underrepresented in County discussions about local government and civic life. The County seeks to retain and grow its millennial population and wondered what it could do to activate the group’s engagement.

Solution

Arlington launched a “millennial engagement initiative” urging comments on a special page of its Engage Arlington websiteIt got 168, plus 21 specific ideas about issues such as on-street parking versus more sidewalks, housing, transit programs, and virtual public meetings. The county is distilling takeaways to plan for the fall.

Arlington started with outreach to millennial groups and individuals already engaged in the community but not necessarily engaged with local government. All were invited to attend a happy hour co-hosted by the Ballston Business Improvement District with the county board vice chair (herself a millennial). With no set agenda, conversation ranged from affordable housing to exotic pets and transportation.

The discussion on Engage Arlington also helped to pinpoint how millennials get their information (answers: social media, county website, nextdoor.com), and to develop a list of contacts to be used for future engagement.

Lessons Learned

Contrary to some perceptions, millennials are extremely diverse and have varying opinions about almost every topic.

Kirby’s Background

Born in DC, grew up in Arlington where she played field hockey and tennis, which she continued at Drew University in Madison, N.J. (’16, double-major in environmental studies and French, minor in communications). Likes to cook and bake, and coaches field hockey at the youth level.

Kirby’s Job

Joined the county’s digital communications team in July 2016 as a digital communications fellow, where she helped to spearhead millennial engagement. Joined the county permanently last week as a communications specialist for the police department.

Startling Fact

In her senior year in high school, Kirby saw “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the White House movie theater where she met President Obama and several of the movie’s original cast members.

Connect with Kirby!

kclark@arlingtonva.us

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