CSSW connection: Emily Jabbour earned an MSW in social policy, with a Law minor, from CSSW in 2006. She served as president of CSSW’s Alumni Association from 2011 to 2013, after which she was elected to be a member of Columbia Alumni Association Board of Directors. In 2017 she received the Columbia Alumni Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) for distinguished service to the University.
Path to political involvement: Since graduating from CSSW, Emily Jabbour has worked in government positions, and from 2017 she has been involved in politics at the local level.
Jabbour’s entree into her current job—as a senior social science research analyst and the performance officer for the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services—came through a program called the Presidential Management Fellowship. This two-year fellowship gave her the opportunity to join the Administration for Children and Families and to train in the variety of tasks, from strategic planning to budgeting, that she currently oversees for over sixty federal programs. Also through that fellowship, Jabbour had a six-month detail working under the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives, which gave her the experience of organizing Congressional briefings and negotiating with other staffers on legislation.
For Jabbour, the 2016 general election was a galvanizing event, and she decided to become involved in politics herself. Having been engaged in civic issues such as gun safety as a parent, she ran for and was elected to Hoboken, New Jersey’s city council. Since 2017, she has been one of nine councillors who oversee the operation and performance of city agencies, making land use decisions and approving the budgets proposed by Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla. They also legislate on a wide range of other subjects, including development and rent regulation. Jabbour has shown leadership in her role as co-chair of the city government’s Revenue and Finance Committee.
In an article congratulating CSSW graduates accepted as finalists in the Presidential Management Fellowship program, Jabbour said,
The federal government needs social workers now more than ever to be at the table and take a leadership role in advocating for the policies that support people in need.
Speaking in a Columbia You video about how she got her career going in federal government:
When I first graduated I relocated to Washington, DC. I had never lived there and didn’t know a single soul who was there…I had an incredible experience of building a new community for myself in Washington solely through the Columbia name and developed a network of people there, then went on to become more involved.