Public Information Officer Cassidy Wallerstein likes to be on the move.
You could find her strolling sidewalks for hours in the Presidio, eyeing the detailed architecture and blooming bougainvillea. You might also spot the Southern California native partaking in an intense virtual exercise class midday at a local park. Or, if you were lucky to be her neighbor, you may catch a glimpse of her Zooming in the kitchen of her one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, cooking za’atar chicken schnitzel or sweet potato gnocchi with her partner.
Fortunately, being quick on her feet has been extremely helpful in her role as a Disaster Service Worker (DSW) for the City of San Francisco. “Serving as a DSW requires you to be nimble and learn quickly,” said Wallerstein.
Wallerstein has served not once but twice at the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). During her first deployment, she led the Content Development Unit, crafting messages around the health orders and public health information for the public. Her team worked with graphics and translations to ensure communication efforts, both online and physical, were accessible to all San Franciscans. Her second deployment required her to work with the media, respond to daily press inquiries, and organize roundtable discussions as the Deputy Unit Lead for the Information Dissemination Unit. Both positions required her to be flexible, strategic and communicative.
Wallerstein credits her two and a half years working on the Power Communications Team as a primary reason she’s set up for success for her Disaster Service Work. While she has learned aspects of her roles on the fly, she drew upon her experience at the SFPUC for the rest. “A benefit of working on the Communications Team at the SFPUC is that our team is large and brings a wide variety of communications experience to our work. I have learned so much from my colleagues—from how to interact effectively with the media or crafting messages that will resonate on social media—and that knowledge is really coming in handy at the EOC.”
Working at the EOC has shaped Wallerstein’s view on public service as well. “Seeing City employees from all different departments step outside their normal roles and come together here has been nothing short of amazing and inspiring. The EOC is supporting the community in so many ways. It reminds me of the power and purpose of public service.”
Between deployments at the EOC and her active personal life, even Wallerstein needs a break occasionally. Her love of reality television, including Bravo favorites like Below Deck and Real Housewives, helps her unwind just a bit. What about Keeping Up with Kardashians? “Definitely not,” she laughed. We’ll just try and keep up with her instead.