Click on the image above to view Viviana's Community Spotlight
Viviana holds the distinction of making history by being the first African American woman ever elected to the North Hempstead Town Board. Elected in November 2009, she serves New Cassel/Westbury, Carle Place and the Villages of Westbury and Old Westbury. The seat in the 1st Councilmatic District was vacated by now Nassau County Legislator, Robert Troiano, who 'passed the torch' as the first African American male to serve on the Town Board to Viviana.
Viviana Russell was born and raised in East Elmhurst, Queens. She has been a resident of New Cassel/Westbury since 1999 with her husband Gary and their 3 children. Viviana holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science, is a certified Para-Chaplain, NYS Licensed Real Estate Agent and a Notary Public.
Six years ago Viviana participated in a community wide visioning process that started through a partnership with Sustainable Long Island, Unified New Cassel Community Revitalization Corporation, a local community – based development organization, and the Department of Planning and Economic Development of the Town of North Hempstead, and local churches. The purpose of this collaborative effort was to encourage residents to work together to develop a plan of goals to accomplish in the community. This process resulted in the adoption of The Visioning plan that is now a national model for communities seeking economic and social redevelopment.
Viviana is a concerned, committed and involved resident of Westbury with powerful grassroots community building skills and comprehensive knowledge of the community's needs and governmental functions.
Volunteering for community and youth initiatives are all important to Viviana. She has been an advocate for the quality of life for senior residents at Magnolia Gardens Senior Complex, working with Unified New Cassel Community Revitalization Corporation as a program coordinator and Block Captain and volunteering as a committee member on the Weed and Seed Coalition. While at Unified New Cassel in partnership with Randi's Cleaners and Coats for Kids, Viviana initiated and continues to be involved in the annual coat distribution to families in need during the winter months.
She serves on the board of the McCoy Center Family and Youth Services and the Unity Circle Mothers' Center. She is also a member of the NAACP, National Association of Business and Professional Woman, Long Island Center for Business and Professional Women, Moxxie Network, The Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy, Samaritan Women of God liturgical dance ministry and is also a member of the First Baptist Cathedral of Westbury where she serves as a Deaconess.
Prior to becoming Councilwoman Viviana gained governmental experience working at the Town of North Hempstead's 311 Call Center from its inception, servicing residents throughout the Town and as a Constituent Liaison for New York State 13th Assembly District. She is currently the Communications Project Manager for the National Association of Mothers' Centers, an organization birthed in 1974 for mothers to share their experiences and address their concerns of mothering.
Since taking office Viviana has worked with every level of government to demonstrate her motto of SOWing into the community - Strengthening bonds between residents, the community, organizations and government; Overcoming obstacles and Welcoming new ideas by bringing everyone to the table to accomplish the goals set forth by the communities she serves.
Among the noted accomplishments of her first year of office, Viviana was named one the Top 50 Influential Women on Long Island by the Long Island Business News. She has also:
• Partnered with the Village of Westbury and Sherwood Civic Association to bring the 1st Annual family oriented Movie Night in the Park that draws families from all over Westbury. Refreshments are donated by residents and local businesses. Her plans are to expand this to Carle Place.
• Consistently works with the Department of Environmental Conservation, residents adjacent to and businesses in the industrial area to promote clean air and quality living conditions
• Strengthened the town's pro-active efforts to educate the community on their rights and responsibilities under the Town's Public Safety Code.
• Continues to support the over $80 million of private and public investment to the revitalization of the Town's downtown areas of Carle Place and New Cassel/Westbury.
• Intricately involved in the effort of rejuvenating revitalization through Vision Plan Updates and Brownfield Opportunity Area project
Continues to be involved in the construction of the Towns first $25 million Platinum LEED certified (Green) Community Center in Westbury. The 50,000 square-foot building—with its two regulation size basketball courts, television studio, recording studio, stage for theatrical productions, research/reading room, Internet cafe, meeting rooms, social hall for events and exercise facilities
• Served on panel for: LI Center for Business and Professional Women " You've Come a Long Way Baby – Women in Politics", Adelphi University – Encouraging the Next Generation: Women in Politics
• Worked with Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc and Toys for Tots, the NY Islanders, and EGC Marketing Group to bring holiday cheer and gifts to over 200 families in need over the holiday season.
Recipient of many notable awards and recognitions: Top 50 Influential Women on Long Island;
Community Service Appreciation Awards – Westbury Gospel Tabernacle, Carle Place Middle School, LI Center for Business and Professional Women; Black History Award- State of New York Senator Craig Johnson; Warrior Award – Mothers Club of Wheatley Heights: Excellence in Service Award – Calvary Tabernacle