Emily Colón, who was hired as third-in-command at Lakeland City Hall in February 2019, has been promoted to the second-in-command position of deputy city manager. She replaces Nicole Travis, who resigned her Lakeland post last December to lead the city of Tampa’s Development and Economic Opportunity Department.
Colón, 35, was chosen over 364 other applicants three years ago when she was named assistant city manager. Her role expanded last May when she took on the added duties of managing the then-new Division of Innovation and Strategy.
“Through her experiences, hard work and passion for learning, she has developed a tremendous skillset in the city management profession,” City Manager Shawn Sherrouse said in announcing the promotion. “Emily has already proven herself as an empathetic leader with a devotion to public service.”
In her new position, which she assumed Wednesday, Cólon is being paid an annual salary of $152,962.73.
Colón earned a masters degree in public information from the University of South Florida and recently received city manager credentials from the International City/County Management Association. She is currently the president of the Suncoast Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration.
In March 2021, she was listed among seven “women that are breaking down barriers and leading the next generation of the local government profession” by PM, the magazine of the International City/County Management Association.
In the article, Colón said working with people, even disgruntled ones, is what she loves about her job, and that her biggest accomplishment is leading city government through COVID-19.
A news release about the promotion issued today quotes Colón as saying: “My passion is our people, both internal to the organization and in the community. Every day is an opportunity for us to push the needle further towards performance excellence through strategy and innovation. It’s why I love the work I get to do and am grateful to have been chosen as the city’s deputy city manager.”
As assistant city manager, Colón was deeply involved in the city’s strategic planning process. Before coming to Lakeland, she held several management positions in Pasco County government.
The city of Lakeland is in the process of recruiting a new assistant to the city manager, spokesman Kevin Cook said.
Last year, Colón spoke about public service with broadcaster Andrea Oliver for the LkldNow in View video series: