Nicholson Continues Building His Team

Special to the Journal

Lynn’s Mayor-Elect Jared Nicholson has announced the addition of three staff members to his team. Danya Smith, Wendy Pena, and Sarita Ago will all join Mayor-Elect Nicholson’s staff following his inauguration on January 3, 2022. “We are so excited to be able to take office in January with a well-rounded, motivated team,” said Mayor-Elect Jared Nicholson.

Jared Nicholson will be inaugurated
as Mayor of Lynn at a ceremony
Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Lynn Auditorium. Members of the City
Council and School Committee
will also receive their oaths of
office from City Clerk Janet Rowe.

“These three hires each bring a unique skill set and a passion for serving the city.” Danya Smith will join the Nicholson Administration as the Policy Director. Danya is a lifelong resident of Lynn and graduated from Colby College in 2020. He most recently worked as a Research Analyst with Mt. Auburn Associates in Somerville, MA where he focused on community economic development including affordable housing development, as well as workforce and small business development in communities across the country.

Danya also has a strong background in housing having worked with the Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development to research and prepare grant proposals for the Lynn’s Lead Abatement and Healthy Homes programs. He also held an internship with the Central Maine Growth Council where he researched Waterville, Maine’s housing market. Danya will bring this robust experience to Nicholson’s team and will assist with the development and implementation of the Mayor’s policy agenda and strategic goals.  

“I look forward to joining Mayor-elect Nicholson’s team to focus on an inclusive recovery from the pandemic as well as help position the city for long-term economic growth for all residents,” said Smith. “I was inspired by the Mayor-elect’s vision and focus on equity throughout the campaign, and I’m excited to bring my prior experience and work with a broad set of stakeholders to contribute to this vision.” Wendy Pena will join Nicholson’s team as the Administrative Director. Wendy was born and raised in Lynn, where she attended Lynn Classical High School before graduating from Fitchburg State University.

Wendy earned her certificate in Marketing and Communications from The University of Massachusetts Boston. Wendy brings over 15 years of experience in event management from one of the largest global accounting firms, Ernst & Young where she led and executed on more than 150 annual events, both locally and nationally. Wendy also co-founded a national networking organization whose goal is aligning individuals with professional opportunities and is currently a contract Speaker Program Coordinator with The CM Group. Wendy joins the Mayor’s staff following her role as the Event Manager for Nicholson’s campaign. In this role, Wendy coordinated numerous events throughout Lynn which allowed Nicholson to meet residents and hear about the issues important to them. As the Administrative Director, Wendy will oversee the operations of the mayor’s office including coordinating Nicholson’s schedule and organizing community events.

“While working closely with Jared during the campaign trail and listening to the residents of Lynn, I was able to experience the positivity and energy that he will bring to the city of Lynn,” said Wendy. “He is transparent, honest, and values collaboration. If you ask him a question and he doesn’t have the answer, he’ll tell you so and then go find the answer. I was also extremely impressed by the organization, openness, and participatory nature of the team he created. If something goes wrong, he’s not interested in assigning blame rather he solicits ideas to solve the problem. He encourages people to be their authentic selves while contributing to the greater good. What I’m looking forward to the most is his innovative approach to implementing new ideas and to initiate positive change.”

Sarita Ago, who began working with Mayor Tom McGee in 2021 will be staying on with Nicholson as the Constituency Services Coordinator. In this role, Sarita will assist residents with resolving municipal issues and connect them to resources that may be available to them. Sarita will also attend community events on behalf of the Mayor’s Office. Sarita attended Lynn Classical High School having graduated in 2009 and attended North Shore Community College studying Business Administration and Management. Sarita, a Lynn native, began working in Lynn City Hall in 2019 as a Communications Associate prior to joining Mayor McGee’s office. Sarita said that she is thrilled to continue working under another great administration. “Mayor-Elect Nicholson has created an amazing team and I am confident that together we will carry out his vision to create a more inclusive Lynn.” Lynn’s 2022 Inauguration Ceremony will take place at Lynn City Hall on Monday, January 3, 2022 at 7PM. Tickets are not required and all are welcome. Masks and face coverings are required at all times. Parking is limited.

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