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Trailnet Hires New Policy Catalyst Charles Bryson

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Former Director of The City of St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency joins our growing team!

Trailnet Policy Catalyst Charles Bryson

As Policy Catalyst, Charles will lead Trailnet’s strategic policy and advocacy agenda through coalition-building, community outreach and government relations.

Charles began his career in non-profits, working in services for the unhoused in Baltimore, Maryland. After two years with Catholic Charities in Baltimore, he moved to work with the Illinois Department of Public Aid, where he oversaw federal and state grants for services for the unhoused. Eventually, he moved back to his home state of Missouri, where he worked for the Missouri Housing Development Commission as a proponent for low-income housing tax credit development for six years.

When Mayor Francis Slay was elected in 2001, he called on Charles to work as an advisor in his administration, where he was responsible for developing and implementing the overall neighborhood, ethnic and religious outreach plan for the City. During his time in City Hall, Charles worked with three mayors—as special advisor, Director of Public Safety, and for the last eight years, as the Director of the Civil Rights Enforcement Agency (CREA), enforcing federal, state and local fair housing, equal employment opportunity and public accommodation laws, rules and regulations, “a job I truly loved,” said Charles.

Charles will start with Trailnet in late June. As our new Policy Catalyst, he has one overarching goal:

“Listen. Listen to what the community is saying. Look at how our policies, procedures and practices can impact the needs of those various communities. Whether it’s black folks feeling underserved by public transit; Whether it’s the LGBTQIA+ community feeling afraid to walk in certain areas at night; Whether signage in our region adequately serves folks who speak English as a second language. The one thing I want to be able to accomplish is to listen to folks and address their needs.”

Charles currently lives downtown, a short walk from the Trailnet offices.

“I live downtown, in part, because I wanted access to public transit. Public transportation is a big deal for me, so I’m excited to see how my passion for transit can factor into this work.”

He also enjoys hiking, and he says he’s getting into biking.

“I’m in walking shape—I walk about 6.7 miles every couple of days through Forest Park—but that doesn’t mean I’m in biking shape. So I’m working on that,” he said with a smile.

We’re excited to have someone with Charles’s passion and experience join our team. Welcome!