New Neighborhood Services Staff Announced
Mayor Michelle Wu today announced the appointment of Enrique Pepén as the director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services (ONS) and John Romano as the new deputy director. Additionally, Mayor Wu announced hirings for three vacant positions, including Nathalia Benitez as the East Boston Liaison, Chulan Huang as the Chinatown, Downtown, and Leather District Liaison, and Ciara D'Amico as the North End, West End, and Waterfront liaison. They will work to encourage, facilitate and maximize citizen input and participation through service requests, neighborhood meetings, mailings, and emergency responses.
“Our Neighborhood Services team is the heartbeat of delivering city services, ensuring we are connected across every neighborhood and community,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m so grateful for their leadership and hard work to empower every resident and make Boston a city for everyone.”
Pepén and Romano will oversee the operations of the Office of Neighborhood Services with an aim to improve overall engagement across City neighborhoods, delivering city services, and ensuring the department’s quality of the work under the leadership of Chief of Community Engagement, Brianna Millor.
A native of Boston and currently a resident of Roslindale, Enrique Pepén is a son of Dominican immigrants. He began his career in public service in 2016 as an intern for former City Councilor Tito Jackson. He then transitioned out to serve as District Coordinator for former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, assisting constituents with federal government-related casework. In 2019, Pepén was appointed as the Jamaica Plain liaison in the Office of Neighborhood Services and served as the community contact for residents. Most recently, he served as the Community Engagement Coordinator of Transportation for Massachusetts where he led efforts to ensure transportation equity and access to reliable and affordable transportation statewide.
“I am beyond excited to serve under Mayor Wu’s administration and lead ONS,” said Enrique Pepén. “I believe that this department is the heart of City Hall and it’s our job to ensure that the people of Boston are engaged with all city services and projects. I’m looking forward to jumping right in and getting to work.
In his free time, Pepén serves as a member of the YDMA Latino Caucus to ensure the progress and involvement in civic engagement of young Latinx residents across the state.
John Romano is a North End native who became active in the community at a young age, volunteering with community organizations like North End Against Drugs, North End Athletic Association, and the North End Music and Performing Arts Center. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration graduating in 2016 and 2018 respectively.
“I am ready to bring the values and skills I have learned in my previous role to continue to serve under Mayor Wu’s administration and assist in leading ONS,” said John Romano. “This department is the voice of each community and we strive to bring that voice to every department and decision that is made. I look forward to continuing to work with our team and our administration to do just that.”
Romano previously served as the North End, Waterfront, West End liaison in the Office of Neighborhood Services. He brings to the deputy director role a deep understanding of ONS’ mission to connect residents to City services and extensive experience in public service and community engagement.
The Office of Neighborhood Services also filled three vacant liaison roles. Nathalia Benitez will serve as the East Boston Liaison, Chulan Huang as the Chinatown, Downtown, and Leather District Liaison, and Ciara D'Amico as the North End, West End, and Waterfront liaison. They will distribute information and facilitate the delivery of services in collaboration with City departments to the constituents of their respective neighborhoods.
Nathalia Benitez was born in Colombia, migrated to Spain at the age of four, and then moved to the U.S. at age twelve. She went on to graduate from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with distinction.
“I have always enjoyed being a resident of the vibrant East Boston community and am honored to now serve the neighborhood as the East Boston liaison,” said Nathalia Benitez. “I look forward to working alongside the people of my community to ensure that Eastie remains an inclusive and beneficial place for everyone.”
Benitez enjoys indulging in the growing restaurant scene throughout the city as well as volunteering and working with local political organizations and campaigns.
Chulan Huang immigrated from China to Boston’s Chinatown at 3 years old. As a young teenager, he was introduced to Boston Asian Youth Essential Services where he discovered his love for Chinatown through participating in numerous civic engagement programs. Huang is a former Boston Public School student and graduated from East Boston High School in 2018.
“I am excited to join Mayor Wu's ONS team as the Chinatown, Downtown and Leather District community contact,” said Chulan Huang. “I am proud to represent the first Asian-American woman mayor of Boston and I look forward to helping these neighborhoods recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in an equitable and accessible manner.”
Huang is an avid powerlifter.
Ciara D’Amico is a third generation North End resident who attended Eliot School and Boston Latin Academy. She received her degree in Bachelors of Arts in Communications with a minor in Social Work from Saint Anselm College.
“I am extremely excited to take on this role to serve and work with residents I've grown up around, '' said Ciara D’Amico. “I am super passionate about helping others and look forward to working with my community.”
In her free time, D’Amico enjoys spending time with her family and friends, along with shopping, trying out new restaurants, traveling, and exercising.
To find your neighborhood liaison, visit boston.gov/ons.
ABOUT THE MAYOR’S OFFICE OF NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES
The Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services (ONS) encourages, facilitates and maximizes citizen input and participation through service requests, neighborhood meetings, mailings, and emergency responses. To report non-emergency issues to the City, residents are encouraged to connect with BOS:311 by dialing 3-1-1 or by downloading the free BOS:311 app on iOS or Android platforms.