When Dawn Kirstaetter got the call about joining Comcast as Director of Government and Community Affairs for the Beltway Region, focusing on Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Carroll County, she couldn’t wait to get started. “This is the job that brings together all of my professional experiences in government, community and leadership, as well as my commitment to my hometown, which Comcast shares,” she said. “Grit, determination and pride – that’s Baltimore.”
A native of West Baltimore, Dawn is a graduate of Baltimore City Public Schools, including Fallstaff Middle School where she learned all the words to the Baltimore City anthem, and Western High School, the oldest all-girls public school in the country (“Go Doves!”). Through her experiences and as the daughter of a former teacher, Dawn said, “I know firsthand the hurdles faced by our students and the systems that serve them.” She has spent her career helping her community and the people in it to clear those obstacles.
“Growing up, I had connections to caring adults – teachers, coaches, counselors, principals and more – who saw potential, created opportunities for me to explore and shine and provided me with a support system. Baltimore gave me a strong foundation for success, and I’ve committed my life to empowering young people and advocating for programs and resources to help them achieve their dreams,” she said.
As Deputy Mayor of Baltimore, Dawn worked closely with the Mayor and City Schools to expand educational opportunities for Baltimore’s children and youth, including the 21st Century Schools Project and after-school programs. While Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Advancement at Baltimore City Community College, she led the institution’s community engagement, marketing and fundraising efforts. As Chief Operating Officer at Associated Black Charities, she led the day-to-day operations of the organization and convened large-scale events to spotlight local leaders, provide networking opportunities for women and create awareness about systemic racism and social justice. Dawn also held executive roles with the Boys & Girls Clubs in Montgomery County, Maryland, and Texas.
Through her work at Comcast, Dawn will continue her support of young people and families across the area. “I’m proud to join this team and work with the Mayor’s Office, the City Council and community leaders to build solutions tied to digital equity, workforce development and digital skills training.” At Comcast, these efforts are part of the company’s decade-long commitment to close the digital divide for residents and businesses in need, with programs like Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program that has connected 48,000 low-income households in Baltimore City, and Lift Zones, including the 21 Baltimore City community centers where Comcast is now providing free high-speed Wi-Fi to customers and non-customers alike to help students get online for distance learning and to do their schoolwork.
Dawn also looks forward to helping to spread the word about Comcast RISE, which supports small businesses owned by people of color – including 35 to date in Baltimore City such as BrickRose Exchange – with consulting, media and creative production services from Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, or technology upgrades from Comcast Business. “Baltimore has the best hair salons, art galleries and restaurants!” said Dawn.
Since starting in her role, Dawn has enjoyed getting to know her colleagues and learning more about Comcast’s investment in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Carroll County. “Comcast is a company with soul made up of engaged employees who care deeply about the communities in which we live and work.”
“We are thrilled Dawn has joined our team as her proven leadership and passion for the communities we serve will add to our ongoing efforts to keep our customers connected, informed and supported throughout the Baltimore area,” said Misty Allen, Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Comcast’s Beltway Region.
“I’m excited to serve as an ambassador for both our community and company, ensuring that Baltimore knows what services and opportunities are available from Comcast and that my colleagues at Comcast understand Baltimore’s needs,” said Dawn.
More About Dawn
- Education: Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University and a Masters of Social Work from Clark Atlanta University.
- Inspirations: Baltimore millennials like Nykidra Robinson (founder of Black Girls Vote), Ashley Day (founder of Women Leading Baltimore) and Sean Brunson (founder of the Brunson Basketball League), as well as Diane Bell McKoy (Associated Black Charities) and Kim Trueheart (who helped start the Liberty Village Project) for their work in the community. Also, my mother, who graduated from Dunbar High, then New York University with a master’s degree, then, in her mid-30s, law school at the University of Maryland. I watched her study hard for the BAR exam and eventually become an attorney for the State, representing the City of Baltimore in cases of child abuse.
- Fun Facts: I was on the State championship-winning swim team at Western High School (though I’m no Michael Phelps or Katie Ledecky). And I love music: I was a DJ in college and still love the radio (especially WEAA on Sunday mornings, Larry Young and C4 in the mornings, and WBJC when I need to relax); I catch live jazz at An Die Musik and Keystone Korner; I was once escorted out of a Prince concert for taking a selfie; and while I can’t sing well, I don’t let that stop me!
- Favorite Spots: Nancy’s Café in the Station North arts district for breakfast and catching up on gossip; Joe Squared for the best pizza ever; Koco’s for crab cakes; Citron for drinks; The Charles Theater for movies; Greedy Reads and Enoch Pratt Library for books; the Healing Path in Fells Point for massage therapy; Baltimore churches, including Cornerstone Church of Christ where I grew up; the waterfront from the Inner Harbor to Canton for long walks; and City Hall – the building structure and the marble atrium are beautiful and I am filled with hope and nostalgia whenever I visit.
- What I’m Watching: Godfather of Harlem, Real Housewives of Potomac (guilty pleasure), Insecure (loooove!!), and Peacock, of course!