Valerie Lemmie is senior advisor for state and local government at the Kettering Foundation. An adept strategic thinker and local government thought leader, Lemmie is a distinguished pracademic with over 40 years of experience solving public problems and controversial issues in governmental organizations; leading research on democratic practices and public engagement; and advising communities across the United States on innovative and effective strategies for advancing multiculturalism. Currently, Lemmie is coproducing, encouraging, and supporting strategies, programs, and policies that strengthen democracy, foster inclusion, and advance public accountability, transparency, and collaboration.
Lemmie joined the foundation after a distinguished career in public service. She served as city manager for the cities of Petersburg, Virginia, and Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio; commissioner on the Public Utility Commission of Ohio; and district director and acting chief of staff for Congressman Mike Turner (Ohio’s 10th District). Lemmie has also served as adjunct professor at Howard University, the University of Dayton, and Port Elizabeth Technikon (now Nelson Mandela University) in South Africa; the latter in cooperation with USAID.
Lemmie serves on numerous local, federal, and international boards and commissions, including: Initiatives of Change, USA; SIVIO Institute, Zimbabwe; National Civic League; National Conference on Citizenship; and the Dayton Foundation. She is chair of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and the Ohio Matriots nonpartisan political action committee. She is also an advisor to the Portman Center for Policy Solutions at the University of Cincinnati. A fellow and past board chair of the National Academy of Public Administration, Lemmie is a published author and international speaker on democracy, public governance, leadership, and diversity.
Lemmie received her BA in political science and urban sociology from the University of Missouri and an MA in urban affairs and public policy planning from Washington University in St. Louis.