Drew Fennell is the Chief Communications and Experience Officer at ChristianaCare, as well as this week’s #PeopleofWilmDE! Read her story below:
“My first job after law school was as a law clerk in the Delaware Court of Chancery and I’ve worked in the City of Wilmington ever since – associate in a law firm, Executive Director of the ACLU, Executive Director of the Delaware Criminal Justice Council, Chief of Staff to Governor Jack Markell, and now as the Chief Communications and Experience Officer at ChristianaCare. My wife, Lisa Goodman, grew up in this community and so did our four adult children, two of whom lived in Wilmington and have kept close ties to Delaware. I feel so lucky to have landed here!
From the time I began my career, the community in Wilmington has been open to me as an LGBT person. Delaware has been in the forefront of LGBT rights and Wilmington was one of the first cities to guarantee protections based on sexual orientation. Gaining legal protections for the LGBT community was hard, but I never doubted that my community would do the right thing. Without those protections, I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and life for my family would be very different.
We used to live in Cool Springs and one of my very favorite memories is sitting on our porch eating a delicious dinner from the Greek Festival and talking to the neighbors as they walked by.
I will never forget the signing ceremony for the Civil Union Bill on May 11, 2011 at The Queen with more than six hundred cheering (and crying) Delawareans watching Governor Jack Markell sign the law that recognized our families!
I deeply believe in working to make the community better and I’ve been involved in lots of different organizations over the years: The Delaware Center for Justice, Trinity Episcopal Parish, The Grand Opera House, the Delaware Community Foundation, and Delaware Public Media to name a few. Working together is one of the best ways to really be part of a community — and there are so many great organizations to support!
There are so many new, young leaders in Wilmington, and for me, they represent a promise that our community will be a vibrant, diverse, and healthy place for all of us.
Emerging from the pandemic means getting everyone vaccinated! That’s the single most important thing we can do to be safe and be together. Lots of organizations, including DHSS, ChristianaCare, neighborhood groups, and elected leaders are out there every day bringing the vaccine to people where they live, work, and gather. Please, if you haven’t been vaccinated, do it today. If you’re worried or afraid, I’ll even come with you!
My advice to Wilmingtonians is to reach out and meet people. It’s a remarkable place to live. We’re small enough to be a real community and big enough to do amazing things! Learn our history. We still have a long way to go to be the community we hope to be. Go to the Delaware History Museum and the Jane and Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage to learn where we came from.
Wilmington is in my heart. There’s terrific energy here, and when I look at the next generation of leaders, I’m filled with hope for the future of our city, our county, and our state. I can’t imagine not being part of this community.”