A Partner in the City
David Litvack leads community change as deputy chief of staff
by Lexie Banks (’12, MACL ’15)
David Litvack (’94) says peeling carrots led to his new position as the deputy chief of staff for Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. In 1999, David was work- ing at the National Conference for Community and be prepared for the unique challenges or opportunities a new position offers. So I’m prepared to tackle them.”
In his personal and professional life, David says he always takes the opportunity
to challenge his weaknesses and become not only a better worker, but also a better
person. “What I’ve always said to my son, and what I will ultimately say to my daughter,
is I’ve never thought of myself as the smartest, most intelligent, or most strategic
person. But I’ve always been one of the hardest workers,” he says.
The major skills he brings to this position are his work ethic and commitment to communication across the aisle. He sees himself as being a true partner with the community he serves, and he can relate to people with differing viewpoints to achieve that end.
“How do you go in and be a partner with the community?” David asks. “When I think about the type of legislator I wanted to be, when I think about my role in the mayor’s office and the mayor’s philosophy of community engagement and empower- ment, that’s how I personally want to be: a partner. I always want to work in a way that builds people up, not tears people down.” For people who are working—or hoping to work—in com- munity building, David says the most important things you can do are listen to the community and make yourself vulnerable. Listening to what the community needs, acknowledging differ- ences in opinion, and finding common ground will ultimately lead to successful community building. Another lesson? Be humble. “I am not perfect. I’m not a saint,” he says. “That’s where I have to acknowledge the issue, apologize where I need to apologize, and always strive toward what I want to be.”
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.