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Biography

A Government Relations/Public Policy consultant and writer, Allison Silberberg served as the Mayor of Alexandria, Virginia, from 2016 through 2018 after serving as Vice Mayor from 2012 through 2015.

Her most recent consulting work includes serving as Government Relations Director for a housing nonprofit to help residents at risk of eviction or foreclosure at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and national housing crisis, as well as being part of the leadership team that has launched a statewide and national Stroke Smart campaign. She serves on the board of Centrist Democrats of America. Her recent columns about ethics reform, coping with the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, food insecurity, climate change and protecting our environment and tree canopy, and mental health have been published in numerous outlets, including The Washington Post.

Mayoral Term

Allison’s mayoral term had a transformational impact.

  • Secured Virginia Tech’s $1 billion Innovation Campus for the city, part of the largest business deal in the region’s history.
  • Worked with state and local officials as well as AlexRenew to approve the long-delayed plan to resolve the sewage issues for all four outfalls into the Potomac River.
  • Built consensus among governmental agencies and stakeholders to approve the new Potomac Yard Metro Station plan.
  • Tripled the dedicated funding for the city’s Affordable Housing Fund
  • Planned, approved, and built three schools.
  • Created the city’s first Arts District, an economic development catalyst.
  • Maintained the AAA bond rating, saving the city millions of dollars through proactive initiatives.
  • Established Alexandria as the first Stroke Smart city in the nation, working to launch a statewide and national campaign.
  • Quintupled the number of trees planted per year from 225 to 1,100.
  • Drafted and adopted the city’s Statement on Inclusiveness, which garnered national attention.

While mayor, Allison prioritized ethics, civic engagement, and transparency. She continues to advocate for a proactive, common-sense approach to government while championing education, social justice, environmental protection, affordable housing, common-sense gun reform laws, inclusiveness, and ethics reform. 

Public Service

Allison has over 30 years of experience in public policy and public service.

  • Serves on the Advisory Council of George Mason University’s Carter School’s Political Leadership Academy. (2022 – present)
  • Serves on the Goodwin House Alexandria Advisory Committee. (2022 — present)
  • Serves as a Board member of Friends of the Alexandria Mental Health Center (2020 – present), for which she wrote an article that appeared in The Zebra.
  • Part of a team that has launched a statewide and national public health initiative for a Stroke Smart campaign. (2019 – present)
  • Served on the Leadership Council of OneVirginia2021, committed to ending partisan gerrymandering in Virginia. (2019 – 2021)
  • Served on the Government Relations Committee at the Greater Washington Board of Trade. (2019 – 2021)
  • Served as the Mayor of Alexandria. (2016 – 2018)
  • As Mayor, she represented the city on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Board of Directors and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA); served on NVTA’s Finance Committee; chaired the city’s Quality of Life Committee and Legislative Subcommittee; co-chaired the City Council/School Board Subcommittee; and served on the city’s Gang Prevention Community Task Force and the Local Emergency Planning Committee.
  • Taught a session about inclusiveness at the Seminar on Transition for Newly-Elected Mayors, co-sponsored by the Institute of Politics (IOP) and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, at the IOP at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. (2017)
  • Served as the Vice Mayor of the Alexandria City Council. (2013 – 2015)
  • Served as the Secretary/Treasurer, a corporate officer, for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. (2014)
  • As Vice Mayor, she represented the city on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Region Forward Coalition and served on the city’s Library Board, Eisenhower Partnership Board, Gang Prevention Community Task Force, and Inova Alexandria Hospital Task Force.
  • Served as the president of the board of the Georgetown Senior Center. (2010 – 2012)
  • Serves as a founding honorary board member of the National Chamber Ensemble. (2007 – present)
  • From 2004 to 2012, Allison was appointed to Alexandria’s Economic Opportunities Commission (EOC), where she advocated for the city’s most vulnerable by focusing on employment, affordable housing, health care, homeless prevention, utility costs, and abusive lending practices. She served as chair from 2010 to 2012, focusing the EOC on job creation and affordable housing as well as initiating the EOC’s annual public service day, “All Hands on Deck.” In 2011, the EOC’s first “All Hands on Deck” renovated the Alexandria Community Shelter, the city’s shelter for the homeless. This event involved more than two dozen donors, including Home Depot, and 100 volunteers. In 2012, the EOC’s “All Hands on Deck” renovated Community Lodgings.
  • Managed high-impact grantmaking to local nonprofits, which caught the attention of the World Bank. In 2005, the World Bank asked her to serve a three-year term on its Community Outreach Grants Committee, which disbursed major funding (over $1.3 million) to local nonprofits in the Washington region. (2005 – 2007)
  • Hosted nearly a decade of monthly charitable events, which gave all proceeds (over $50,000) to local nonprofits focused on children at risk and families in distress. (1996 – 2004)
  • Founded and led a nonprofit called Lights, Camera, Action! (LCA!), which used film to mentor youth in Anacostia. Seven of the eight LCA! participants went on to college. (1993 – 1996)
  • Worked as Chief Editor and Chief Research Assistant for Senator Lloyd M. Bentsen. (1990 – 1992)
  • Interned for Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Books & Photography

Allison is the author of two books, including Visionaries In Our Midst: Ordinary People who are Changing our World, which profiles individuals making a difference in our country. Visionaries In Our Midst hit #1 on Amazon’s List for Philanthropy & Charity.

Coretta Scott KingAllison is also the author of And Life Will Be a Beautiful Dream: A Book about Peggy and Alvin Brown, a commissioned memoir about the meaningful life of a philanthropic family. The book is held privately. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, and on PBS.org. In 1989, she wrote an episode for the hit television series Mama’s Family.

Allison’s photography, which specializes in portraiture, has appeared in The Washington Post as well as other major newspapers and magazines in the States and abroad. 

Her photograph of Coretta Scott King has garnered national attention and is represented by Getty Images.

Coretta Scott King

Education & Accolades

A Russian Studies major in college, Allison has a B.A. in international relations and history from American University as well as an M.F.A. in playwriting from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Allison has lived in Alexandria, Virginia, since 1989.

Allison’s accolades include:

  • The Commission for Women’s Award for Outstanding Public Service. (2019)
  • New Hope Housing’s Leadership/Servanthood Award for Allison’s role in leading the Alexandria Economic Opportunities Commission’s “All Hands on Deck” project to renovate the Alexandria Community Shelter. (2012)
  • Two awards for her community work: the 2004 Rosebud Reatig Award for Outstanding Service to the Film & Video Community and a 2003 Culturatti Award, an honor given to 15 individuals in the D.C. region for their contributions to the area’s culture and arts scene.
  • A CINE Golden Eagle Award for Poppy: A Story of Courage, a short film that Allison directed and produced with Anacostia teens for Lights, Camera, Action! (LCA!). (1995)
  • The American Association of University Women’s Excellence in Local Programming Award for Poppy: A Story of Courage. (1995)
Former Mayor/State Senator Patsy Ticer with Allison Silberberg, the only female mayors in the history of Alexandria, at The Campagna Center's Scottish Christmas Walk Parade in December 2016.