Sista to Watch: Council Member Yvette Simpson

Occupation: City Council President Pro TemIMG_3314.JPG

Hometown:  Cincinnati, OH


Follow her on Twitter: @yvette4cincy

About Yvette Simpson

Yvette Simpson grew up in Lincoln Heights, and after graduating from Princeton High School attended Miami University and the University of Cincinnati, College of Law. In 2014, she received her MBA through Xavier University's Executive MBA Program. Previously, Simpson practiced law at several firms before developing and directing Miami University's first Pre-Law Program. She currently serves as Counsel at Ulmer & Berne LLP.

Serving on Cincinnati City Council is an opportunity for Yvette to marry her love of the law and community service. On Council, Simpson focuses on creating jobs by developing and expanding Cincinnati small businesses, improving the lives and empowering Cincinnati youth, and providing the tools for our neighborhoods to become more vibrant places to live and work. It’s important to Yvette to visit and talk directly with Cincinnati residents to hear their ideas, concerns and possible solutions to community problems. Since her election to City Council, Simpson has visited all of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods, and continues to reach out to all of the communities.

Yvette has held board positions with many community organizations throughout Cincinnati, including the YWCA and the Urban League. She is also a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Cincinnati Alumnae Chapter and the Cincinnati Chapter of the Links, Inc. In 2005, she was recognized as one of the Business Courier's Forty under 40 and a YWCA Rising Star. In 2014, Simpson was honored as one of the YWCA's Career Women of Achievement.

Higher Heights: What inspired you to want to work in the political arena?

COUNCIL MEMBER SIMPSON: I was encouraged by another female political leader to run for office. I was working with her on a study to determine why more women do not run for political office. During the study, she asked me to consider running. I was resistant because I didn’t believe that politics was a place for real people who cared about their communities, nor for honest people with integrity. She assured me that it was, and I decided to run. Fueled by a desire to improve my community and the belief that a strong, committed, thoughtful, inclusive leader could run and win, I decided to run. Turns out she was right. 

Higher Heights: What advice do you have for Black women that want to spark change?

COUNCIL MEMBER SIMPSON: Get involved. We need more Black women who are strong, smart, compassionate, and not afraid to speak and act to get involved in the political arena. From voting, community organizing, running campaigns, and running for office, Black women have the power to help change the conversation from Main Street to Washington. We have to use that power if we want to change our communities.

Higher Heights: What do you feel is the single most pressing issue facing Black women today and why?


COUNCIL MEMBER SIMPSON: Intersectionality:  the dual inequality that Black women face every day. More specifically, it describes the intersection of gender and race discrimination layered with the stereotypes and discrimination of being both black and a woman. In practice, it means that Black women are often last when it comes to breaking the glass ceiling, access to needed services and advocacy for issues that affect us. Our voices are important, but we are often left out of the conversation. The key is realizing the power that we have and using that power to advance the issues that matter to us, our families, and our communities.

Higher Heights: Tell us about a woman mentor that has helped you on your journey?

COUNCIL MEMBER SIMPSON: I have had the fortune of having many women advise and support me on this journey. One woman in particular is the reason I decided to become a public servant. She has advised and directed me in my work as an elected leader, served as an example, and been a sounding board. I have found that women in elected leadership at every level and across the country that I have encountered have been encouraging, helpful, and supportive. When women support each other, we win.