My name is Jaya Kolisetty and I’m running for City Council to represent the diverse and dynamic 4th Ward of Urbana, Illinois. I am personally acutely aware of the benefits and strength that comes with this diversity and the corresponding responsibility of our elected officials to ensure the health and safety of all residents.
I was raised by two Social Workers, one of whom immigrated to the United States from India. We had times of stability and times where we were just scraping by. For much of my childhood, my sister was the only other brown kid I knew. I grew up understanding the value of racial equity, the role of social services, and the importance of supporting others. I brought these values to my work in Urbana.
I have had the honor of serving Urbana through our non-profit and higher education institutions for close to a decade. During my six years at Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services (RACES), I conducted prevention programming in our schools, provided direct support to survivors, spent six months as the only staff member at RACES during the Illinois state budget impasse, and assisted in the process of restoring full service provision. I continue to advocate for survivors in my current role as the Associate Director of the Women’s Resources Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In addition to my professional experience, I have a Master of Public Policy degree with a concentration in Women’s Studies from The George Washington University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I have been privileged to receive awards from the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana and the YWCA of the University of Illinois and was recognized as a Central Illinois Business 40 Under 40 in 2018.