Create Something New, Use Data, Make it About DC. Meeting Anthony Williams and the Federal City Council

2017.05.02 with Mayor Anthony Williams, Yesim Sayin Taylor, Melissa Crawford 4399
2017.05.02 with Mayor Anthony Williams, Yesim Sayin Taylor, Melissa Crawford 4399 (View on

I love Washington, DC, so much, I can’t stand it.

Most people know that about me, and it shapes a lot of the writing on this blog as well as my photography….

…which brought me to what I’d call a 5-star experience, meeting Anthony Williams (@TonyWilliamsDC), CEO/Executive Director of the Federal City Council, former Mayor of Washington, DC, and colleagues, Yesim Sayin Taylor, PhD (@YesimSy), Executive Director, D.C. Policy Center (@DCPolicyCenter), and Melissa Crawford, Director of Membership and Events, also with the Federal City Council.

Why 5-star?

Mayor Williams’ accomplishments and the impact of the Federal City Council (@FedCityCouncil) shape much of the life of Washington, DC today. A quick trip to wikipedia (links above) will bring you up to speed.

Prior to this scheduled meeting, I re-read the epilogue of the book Dream City (read my review: Just Read: Dream City – the incredible story (and social determinants) of Washington, DC) which described Washington, DC before Anthony Williams became Mayor in 1999.

Written in its time in history, a read could make a person cry. The situation of our city then is unfathomable compared to what it is today. It’s the irony of Washington, DC, a place oppressed and neglected while its inhabitants shaped (and continue to shape) the world. It’s also what makes this place so special. I relate this history to everyone who visits…

Experiencing Washington, DC through the new DC Policy Center

Through the connection of imagery, I learned about the DC Policy Center.

The Center produces independent analyses by its fellows under the direction of Yesim Sayin Taylor, PhD, an economist. I often say that Doctors love designers because of their impact on health. We also love data, which puts Economists in the same category for me.

The analyses at the Policy Center are very well done, relevant, objective and balanced. There is as much description of problems and successes, and I end of chasing after most of the links in each one – they generate that much curiosity.

This recent piece on anti-poverty policies is a great example: D.C. leads in anti-poverty policies – D.C. Policy Center.

When I went to explore the site, I recognized the photographs, and then I remembered the connection…

The Federal City Council, DC Policy Center, and me

About a year ago I was contacted by Sarah Kellogg from the Federal City Council via this blog, asking for permission to use some of my photographs. I immediately sent the response I send to anyone asking to use my photographs:

Hi Sarah!

I love Washington, DC and the Federal City Council, so permission is granted, use however you want.

Over the next few months, I received a few more requests, and the answer was consistent:

Hi Sarah!

Easy – answer to everything is yes.

Since then, Federal City Council and DC Policy Center have been using the photographs I’ve taken to adorn their web sites and business communications, which is a huge honor on many levels.

Mutually Assured Curiosity

I asked Yesim about the philosophy behind the work at the Center, she told me what she tells her fellows (I’m paraphrasing):

1. Create something new 2. Use Data 3. Make it about DC
Yesim Sayin Taylor, PhD, DC Policy Center

2017.05.02 with Mayor Anthony Williams, Yesim Sayin Taylor, Melissa Crawford 4401
2017.05.02 with Mayor Anthony Williams 4401 (View on

I’m comfortable living a life like that…and I would say it’s the way I think about capturing images. Whenever I travel outside of Washington, DC, to California for example, my camera sits unused, gathering dust. In Washington, it’s never far from me. That says something about how this city nurtures curiosity.

I have probably walked over 1,000 miles in Washington, DC since I arrived (see many of my walks here), and I never tire of it.

It is yet another byproduct of social media to be connected to people with similar desires, to help them do what they do best, and do it in and for Washington, DC (with data 🙂 ).

1 Comment

Ted Eytan, MD