Chief of Staff
Mary Bottari is Mayor Rhodes-Conway's Chief of Staff. Bottari worked in the Wisconsin Senate for Sen. Lynn Adelman, then in the U.S. Senate as Press Secretary for Sen. Russ Feingold. She later worked for the national consumer group Public Citizen on a host of consumer, worker and fair trade issues, and consequently served on Madison’s Committee on Sweatfree Purchases. She joined the Center for Media and Democracy in 2009, where she helped transform the organization into an award-winning national watchdog group focusing on democracy, environment and economic justice issues. She served on the advisory board of Good Jobs First, a national policy resource center in economic development and smart growth. Bottari will serve as the Mayor’s labor and LGBTQ liaison.
Christie Baumel assists the Mayor with sustainability, planning, and climate resilience, including stormwater management. She brings a wealth of experience in urban sustainability and planning through both local government and non-profit roles. Most recently, Christie directed Building Energy programs for the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), where she advised and supported local government sustainability leaders on critical climate, energy, and equity issues. Prior to joining USDN, Christie served as Climate & Energy Advisor for the City of Seattle, developing programs and policies to reduce carbon pollution from the building sector. Christie has also worked as a local government land use planner, and she has worked on numerous community development and environmental protection programs. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Washington in Urban Planning and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Natural Resources.
Katie Crawley continues to serve Mayor Rhodes-Conway after serving as Deputy Mayor for Public Works and Communication under the previous administration. She will continue to work with Parks, Streets, Fleet and Monona Terrace collaborating on policies, practices and operations of those agencies. Her work will also involve collaboration with City staff and community organizations sponsoring and planning festivals and events in the City. She will also assist the Mayor with communications. Prior to her work at the City, she served in the office of U. S. Senator Russ Feingold for 18 years representing and staffing him in 8 counties, including Dane County. With a degree in Journalism, she worked as a broadcast journalist at a number of radio stations in the mid-west, including in Madison.
Cameron McLay will help the Mayor with the City-wide initiative on Performance Excellence. McLay has enjoyed a long career creating high-performing outcome base organizations, with a goal of providing equitable and high-quality service to communities. McLay served for many years with the City of Madison Police Department, where he retired at the rank of captain in 2014. He later served as the Chief of Police for the City of Pittsburgh where he institutionalized data-driven community oriented policing; improved relationships between officers and the communities they served, and instituted systems of accountability to restore integrity to the leadership systems. He also recently served as a Senior Advisor for PricewaterhouseCoopers Safe Neighborhood Analytics Initiative and as a consultant to the City of Seattle. McLay holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership, with an academic focus on human resource performance.
Leslie Orrantia joins the Mayor’s team and will oversee aspects of economic development, public health, and transportation, while building regional relationships for the long-term growth and sustainability of our larger region. She joins the office with more than a decade of experience in community relations and business administration within Dane County. Since 2016, Orrantia has served as Director of Community Relations on behalf of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor. She was the primary point-of-contact with county, city, and community entities and facilitated meaningful collaborations between campus and community, spanning research, practice, and policy. Previously, she was Assistant Director for the Wisconsin Collaborative Education Research Network within UW’s School of Education. Prior to her work at the university, she served as a caseworker in Madison for nearly five years. Orrantia has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts
Dr. Linda Vakunta
Dr. Linda Vakunta joins the Mayor’s Office to assist with housing and human services with more than a decade of experience in grassroots community engagement and program development, monitoring and evaluation work. She served as Program Director at the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance International (HAI), where she led, developed, and designed training programs for government, community, and non-governmental organizations to combat trafficking in persons. In recent years, she has worked as a researcher with Sustaining Natural Circle’s CDC funded grant on understanding impacts of opioid use among African American women in Madison. Dr. Vakunta is a founder and executive director of a Wisconsin-based non-profit called Project 1808. She was instrumental in the growth, success, and global-local recognition of the group as an important player in transforming lives, enabling youth and adults, and building capacity in Sierra Leone through School-Community-University Partnership Models. She holds a PhD in Environmental Studies, a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Psychology and a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Natasha Holmes will serve as the Mayor’s Executive Assistant. She has a wealth of professional experience in both executive management, marketing and social media. As a Senior Administrative Operations Assistant and as a Senior Executive Assistant at UW Health, Natasha supported the Maintenance and Engineering department of over 200 employees, and worked as the executive assistant for the department’s director, as well as three other senior managers. Prior to her work at UW Health, Natasha was the Digital Marketing and Social Media Manager for Max Score Credit in Silver Springs, MD and brings social media experience to the Mayor’s Office, including a stint as a Realtor in Washington, DC where she focused heavily on property marketing through social media to sell historic and luxury homes. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Supply Chain Management from Howard University in Maryland. She is a proud graduate of Madison West High School.
Food Policy Director
Lead Staff Responsibilities
- Staff to the Madison Food Policy Council
- Food policy research, development of food programming, serve as city representative on food related items
Boards, Commissions, & Committees
- Madison Food Policy Council
- Community Engagement Work Group
- Food Waste Task Force
- Grant Funding Work Group
- Healthy Marketing and Procurement Work Group
- Healthy Retail Access Work Group
- Pollinator Protection Work Group
- Urban Agriculture Work Group
- Public Market Development Committee
- Agency Collaboration on Food Initiatives
- Dane County Food Council
- Dane County Food Coalition
- Childhood Obesity Prevention Collaborative
- Alliance for a Healthy South Madison
Neighborhood Resource Coordinator
Lead Staff Responsibilities
- Neighborhood Resource Teams/Special Needs Neighborhoods
- Staff to the Education Committee
- Madison Out-of-School Time (MOST) Initiative
- Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiative (RESJ)
Boards, Commissions, & Committees
- Education Committee
- Manage appointments to City boards, committees, and commissions
- Sister City Collaboration Committee
Mayoral Office Clerk
- Receptionist & phone
- Proclamations & recognition requests
- Contract routing
- Administrative support to Deputy Mayors and Administrative Coordinator
Scheduler and administrative support to:
- Deputy Mayors
- Food Policy Director, including Food Policy related committee meetings
- Neighborhood Resource Coordinator, including NRT committee meetings