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Governor Whitmer Announces Staff Changes


February 3, 2022 



Governor Whitmer Announces Staff Changes 

Executive office promotes Senior Advisor, hires new Chief Communications Officer and three policy staffers 


LANSING, Mich. -?Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that Shaquila Myers has been promoted to Senior Advisor. She also announced the hiring of Kaylie Hanson as Chief Communications Officer, and three new policy staffers- Stephanie O'DeaAlgeria Wilson, and Aya Takai. 


"I am thrilled to welcome four new members to our team and promote a familiar face," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "As we prepare to roll out my fourth budget recommendation and continue growing Michigan's economy, we will need a range of experience to deliver for Michigan families. Shaquila, Kaylie, Stephanie, Algeria, and Aya will help us put Michiganders first and make a real difference in their lives. Let's get to work." 


Shaquila Myers, Senior Advisor 

"Shaquila Myers has been a core part of our team since day one in her role as Chief of Staff to the Lieutenant Governor," said JoAnne Huls, Chief of Staff to Governor Whitmer. "We are thrilled to welcome her to our senior leadership team and lean on her decades of experience to help us further our economic development efforts, collaborate with our partners in the legislature, and effectively utilize billions in federal resources sent to us under the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Shaquila will help us get the job done." 


Shaquila has been Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist's Chief of Staff since day one of the Whitmer-Gilchrist administration. She played a pivotal role in the passage of the bipartisan economic development package last year that helped Michigan land a $7 billion investment from GM, creating 4,000 jobs. She has also spearheaded criminal justice reform efforts, the Jail and Pre-Trial Taskforce, and the Thriving Cities Tour, among other projects.  


Previously, Shaquila was Legislative Director for Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich and a Policy Analyst for the Michigan Senate. She received a Master of Public Administration and her undergraduate degree from Oakland University. 


Jessica Randall will serve as Interim Chief of Staff to Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist. 


Kaylie Hanson, Chief Communications Officer 

"Kaylie is a proven professional who will help us communicate effectively with Michiganders as we stay focused on growing Michigan's economy, creating good-paying jobs, and lowering costs for families," said Zack Pohl, Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Whitmer. "Her experience will be an invaluable asset for our team, and we are thrilled to have her back in Michigan." 


Kaylie previously served as Senior Advisor to U.S. Senator Chris Murphy. She's served in other roles on Capitol Hill for Senator Murphy and Senator Richard Blumenthal. Kaylie also brings electoral experience, having worked on Jennifer Carroll Foy's historic campaign for governor in Virginia, on Jeanne Shaheen's campaign for Senate in New Hampshire, and as Communications Director for NARAL Pro-Choice America.  


Kaylie is a graduate of the University of Michigan and got her start in public service as an intern for the late U.S. Senator from Michigan, Carl Levin and a canvasser in Detroit for candidate Barack Obama. 


Policy Advisors 

"Stephanie, Algeria, and Aya will help us deliver on the governor's vision for Michigan," said Marc Rehmann, Policy Director for Governor Whitmer. "Our policy team is eager to get to work on the issues that matter most to our communities, and I can't wait to work with all of them." 


Stephanie O'Dea, K-12 Policy Advisor 

Stephanie will join the policy team as Governor Whitmer's K-12 policy advisor and brings a wealth of experience from the educational field.? She served for 19 years as a high school teacher and K-12 administrator in several school districts?(Cheboygan, Goodrich, Mt. Morris and New?Lothrop)?across?the state, most recently as the Associate Superintendent of Instruction at Montcalm Area Intermediate School District.? She was elected to the General Education Leadership Network (GELN) executive board, serving as the chair since June 2020.?  


Stephanie holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Spring Arbor University, a secondary teaching certificate, a K-12 administrative certificate and a?Master of Public Administration?from the University of Michigan- Flint.?She?is a proud parent of three. 


Algeria Wilson, Healthy and Equity Policy Advisor Algeria Wilson brings?an incredible background to the governor's policy team. Most recently, she was the Director of Public Policy at the National Association of Social Workers, Michigan Chapter. Previously, she served as a legislative intern for now Michigan State Senator Stephanie Chang (SD-1) where she focused on senior affordable housing issues in the district. Algeria has also worked in schools to reduce student suspensions through restorative justice?and?has served as an appointee to the Mental Health Diversion Council and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Behavioral Health Advisory Committee.  


Algeria holds a bachelors of social work from the University of Cincinnati and a masters of social work from Michigan State University. She is a proud mom of one and is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio?(Go Bengals!), and has enjoyed calling East Lansing, Michigan her home.?


Aya Takai, Generalist Policy Advisor Aya Takai will join the policy team as a Generalist Policy Advisor. Prior to joining the Executive Office of the Governor, she was a performance analyst at?Aledade, Inc., a healthcare startup, and served on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Correspondent and Aide for Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. She previously served as an intern?for the Democratic staff of?the U.S. House Committee on Veterans' Affairs 


Aya holds a bachelor's degree in Community and Global Public Health from the University of Michigan School of a Public Health and is currently on leave from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she is an MPH candidate. She is a native of Oakland County?and competes nationally and internally as a pair skated on Team USA.