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June 20, 2009
MCNY MBA ’08 alumna Teri Coaxum is being honored as one of TNJ’S 40 Under-Forty Dynamic Black Achievers
Teri Coaxum – Deputy State Director for Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), New York City, Age: 37
Inspired by her grandmother, Teri Coaxum dreamed of a career in public service, with an eye on law, especially its pinnacle of power, the Supreme Court. “People would often take my grandmother’s kindness for weakness and take advantage of her; I wanted to be in a place to help people like that,” explains Coaxum, deputy state director for Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from John Jay College in 1994, she volunteered for New York Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn). “Understanding your candidate and your opponent, engaging the public in the issues of the day, as well as meeting and speaking to people you never would have met otherwise – all those things thrilled me,” she exclaims. “I drank the Kool-Aid of politics and public service; I was hooked!”
In 1997, Coaxum became project manager for the Community Relations Bureau in the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes. “I covered six precincts, and encouraged my two daughters by taking them with me to meetings,” explains Coaxum, who is pursuing a law degree. “When I left the DA’s office, they replaced me with three people.”
Sen. Schumer recruited Coaxum in 2004, making her the first African-American woman deputy state director. She oversees the office’s day-to-day operations and makes sure that everyone, including the senator, is on the same page. She still dreams of the Supreme Court. “In the meantime, I get to help a lot more people on this side of justice.”
Quote: “I am blessed and highly favored.”
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