Meet Aja Brown
Aja Brown is an experienced community development professional with over 10 years of experience working in urban communities.
Aja has dedicated her career to initiating change in disadvantaged communities. She is a strategic visionary focused on progress and has built a legacy of developing and implementing public policies to facilitate guided growth and protect community assets.
Throughout her career, she has fought for transparency, collaboration and community involvement. She has developed community empowerment boards, business-to-business collaboratives, and employment development programs. Aja has also formulated policies that ensure residents are incorporated into every aspect of the development process, as a result of public investment into private projects.
In 2011, Aja co-founded Compton-based Urban Vision Community Development Corporation (CDC), a non-profit organization dedicated to community economic development and youth development in the City of Compton. Urban Vision offers programs that aid in the revitalization of Compton. Urban Vision facilitates alliances and programs that generate wealth, eradicate generational poverty and empower businesses to expand through collaboration, access to capital, education and intellectual property.
Prior to founding Urban Vision CDC, Aja worked with the City of Compton’s Community Redevelopment Agency as a Redevelopment Project Manager. Aja was responsible for creating community benefits legislation, initiating community-led downtown revitalization action committees, overseeing the Agency’s urban planning and economic development initiatives, forging strategic alliances, and leading the re-branding and marketing efforts of the community redevelopment agency. Aja also created and implemented Compton’s Apprentice Program designed to create jobs for local residents on city-funded or assisted capital improvement projects.
Aja is experienced in community marketing and rebranding and has facilitated campaigns that have achieved great success enjoyed regionally and nationally. She has re-branded several programs for various cities, which have received critical acclaim. Most recently, her efforts garnered the “Best 2012 Communicator Design Award” for the “Yes!” campaign for the City of Compton.
Aja also oversaw the rebranding and marketing of the “Agency@Compton,” “SmartCompton” smart growth initiative and “Clean Compton” brownfield programs and developed various programs (Apprentice Program) and community liaison groups (Downtown Compton Advisory Committee) to enhance the Agency’s revitalization goals. She also spearheaded the marketing of the City’s First-Time Home Buyer’s Program, Residential Rehabilitation Program through various bi-lingual media formats.
Aja has facilitated resource attraction to the City of Compton, spearheading the City’s Urban Land Institute Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) award for Compton’s North Downtown Transit Area. Technical Assistance Panels are convened to provide pro-bono expert planning and development assistance to public officials and local stakeholders of communities and nonprofit organizations requesting assistance in addressing their land use challenges. To view the report, visit www.ULIbc.org.
Aja also founded the City’s “Clean Compton Brownfield Program” and garnered support of the U.S. EPA, which resulted in the identification of all brownfield sites within the City of Compton and the excavation of three 10,000 Gallon Underground Tanks at an abandoned gas station in Compton. The $1.3 million project will be used to assess contamination; paving the way for revitalization and job creation in community. Aja holds approximately 10 years of experience in managing environmental site remediation projects for cities, which have led to the procurement and leveraging of millions in grant funding toward the reclamation vital land to local communities.
During Aja’s tenure with the City of Compton, she also played an integral role in the core team that led the effort to improve the City’s Standard & Poor’s credit rating, which resulted in the procuring a $100 Million Tax Allocation Bond indenture, comprised of outside investment into the City of Compton for the implementation of approximately 35 redevelopment projects. The $100 Million Tax Allocation Bond had no impact on the City of Compton’s taxpayers and will be repaid through pre-pledged tax increment. To learn more, please visit www.ComptonCity.org.
Aja has a passion for serving and developing young people. She has mentored youth throughout her life. Aja and her husband Van are youth directors of Faith Inspirational’s Explosive Youth Department where they actively mentor, counsel and train Compton’s youth to become confident leaders with integrity, passion, and vision. Aja believes the youth are the key to true community revival.
Aja holds a California Real Estate Brokers License (DRE License #0189746) and has effectively negotiated several property acquisitions, coordinated environmental site assessments and assumed a lead role in the creation of policies to strengthen economic development and revitalization efforts in the City of Compton.
Aja is a member of the Community Redevelopment Association, American Planning Association, International Council of Shopping Centers, and Urban Land Institute’s Young Leaders Group. Ms. Brown has also served a term as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Pasadena, resigning in 2009 to join the Redevelopment Agency, focusing her efforts on the exciting challenge of revitalizing the emergent City of Compton.
Aja holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy, Urban Planning and Development and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning with a concentration in Economic Development from the University of Southern California (2005).
Aja is married to her best friend of 13 years Van Brown, a Petrochemical Safety Manager and Co-Youth Director of Faith Inspirational M.B.C located in Compton, CA.
VISIONforCompton 2013. All rights reserved by the Vision for Compton Elect Aja Brown for Mayor Campaign.