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CANDIDATE BIO

Hi, I'm Savanna

I am a millennial.

I am an ally.

I am a gun owner.

I am a Buckeye.

I am a baker.

I am a civil rights advocate.

I am a wife.

I am an animal lover.

I am an obsessive organizer.

I am a debater.

I am an EV driver.

I am a Cincinnatian.

I am a world traveler.

I am a volunteer.

I am a dog mom.

I am data driven.

I am a gamer.

I am a suburbian.

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Early Life & Family

I was born in Texas, but my family moved frequently when I was a kid because of my dad's Air Force career — I've lived in Texas, Missouri, Illinois, and finally the great state of Ohio where my home has been for the past 15 years.

 

About 3 years after I was born, my younger sister Gabby was unexpectedly born with Down Syndrome (DS), a genetic disorder where an individual develops a partial or full extra copy of chromosome 21. Raising a child with special needs made it necessary for my mom to become a fulltime caretaker and my dad to be our sole provider. 

Having a sister with DS has been one of the biggest influences on who I am as a person today.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't always easy — Gabby is sassy, stubborn, and smart — but growing up alongside her and volunteering for years in the DS community has helped me be a more patient, empathetic, and compassionate person. It's convinced me not to waste time and energy on what cruel people say or do. It's conditioned me to be accepting of all different kinds of people, regardless of disability, gender identity, or race. It's exposed me to the lack of public funding for children and families who don't fit the status quo.

My mom and dad have also been major influences on my life. My parents provided my sister and I with a home full of love and security, always supporting us in what we endeavored to be or do. The fact that they didn't make much money actually helped me learn many of the skills and confidence that shaped me into the strong, independent woman I am today. 

 

One example is the fond memories I have of my dad teaching me to be my own mechanic. I learned the value of dirty work and handy skills as we changed brake rotors, repaired alternators and axels, and continuously fixed my 90's beater together in the garage throughout high school. The jobs I had throughout high school also taught me a lot, from my first job at King's Island, to waitressing at Bob Evans, to being a "sandwich artist" at Subway. My initial jobs in retail and food helped me to learn the value of money, budgeting, time management, and customer service at a young age, skills that would later help me land internships and full time positions. My mom also taught me a lot about perseverance. After having a child with a disability, mom's life plans changed a bit and she wasn't able to go to college like she had planned. It wasn't until she was 45 and I was in high school that she went back to get her degree at Miami University, a challenge in and of itself to be alongside 20 year old's whilst also trying to take care of a family. I'm incredibly proud and inspired that she was able to graduate and take on such a feat later in life, and it has given me the courage to try anything at any time. 

Lastly, my husband Josh has been the biggest influence on my life as an adult. Josh and I have been together now for 8 years (married for just under 3) and I'm so lucky to have found someone who makes me a more compassionate, intelligent, and daring person. We have supported each other throughout school (his MBA and my undergrad), finding new jobs and departing stale ones, taking a leap of faith to start a small business, and my bid for Congress. We have two massive furry babies, Appa the Bernese Mountain Dog and Aspen the English Cream Golden Retriever. Together we have traveled to Vietnam, Chile, Gibraltar, and other countries, experiencing different cultures, cuisines, and customs and recognizing that travel outside the U.S. can teach you so much about others and yourself.

 

He is my best friend and lifelong partner, and I couldn't run for Congress without his support. 

 
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, get to know me a little better by clicking through the images below
Hover over an image for more details or click to enlarge
 
My Education

Towards the end of high school I applied for several different colleges and universities within Ohio, and made the (costly) decision to attend The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

 

I was accepted into the Media, Marketing, and Communications Scholars Program and the Fisher College of Business prior to beginning my freshman year, allowing me to jump start many of the classes I'd need for my degree. I was also accepted into the co-ed business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, where I'd later develop many of the business-savvy skills and connections I have today.

Considering that I was self-funding my degree at OSU, I worked to reduce the amount of debt I'd be leaving college with in every way possible. I borrowed through FAFSA and private loans, while also working throughout the school year at dorms, bars, and restaurants (typically 2 jobs at a time). I accelerated a 4-year degree into 3 years to limit the costs of living and tuition, each semester taking the maximum amount of credit hours allowed.

 

During the summers I attended additional classes at local community colleges that would be credited towards OSU, while also holding internships and co-ops at JPMorgan Chase, GE Aviation, and a small Cincinnati business named At Your Service.

 

After 3 years, I graduated from OSU with a bachelor's degree in Operations Management for Business and a focus in Spanish for Business. Despite all of my debt-reducing efforts and success in finding a job prior to graduation, I still left OSU with a staggering amount of debt.

 

I was incredibly fortunate to get a well-paying job out of college, to not graduate into a recession or a pandemic, and to have the privilege to take on so much debt in order to improve my future career opportunities — many people are not. This is one of the many reasons that my platform advocates for Education for All, so that every person, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, can have the opportunity to receive higher education at an affordable cost.

 
My Career 

After graduating, I accepted a job offer from the grocery store chain Aldi as a district manager. 

 

During my career at Aldi I ran a multi-million dollar district across four stores in Cincinnati. I was responsible for making all staffing decisions, including recruiting and selecting new hires, as well as promoting and terminating shift managers and associates. I managed the training and development of the roughly 40 employees in my stores, as well as the stores' payroll budgets, staffing projections, finance and security audits, and warehouse inventory reviews. While working with Aldi I learned how to effectively lead and motivate my employees with passion and integrity, while developing many technical skills in finance and operations.

In the course of my time at Aldi I spent a few months working in Wilmington and an urban downtown area of Dayton. This time working in both rural and urban Ohio gave me a unique perspective on folks using EBT and SNAP benefits — customers who struggled to make ends meet to feed their families; who loaded up on frozen foods because they were cheaper and less perishable than healthy foods; who put back necessities like diapers at checkout because they couldn't afford everything they needed. In talking to a lot of these customers I'd find that they were amazing people in a bad spot, often embarrassed to show their card or admit they were using assistance. While we were forced to throw out damaged or dated (yet still safe to consume) foods, it was infuriating knowing that we had customers struggling to pay for food. 

After Aldi, I took a position at the global payment processor Vantiv (which would later become Worldpay, and then lastly became FIS). While initially hired as a process improvement analyst, I was quickly promoted within my first and second years at the company and asked to takeover management of the Advisor Experience Program. During my time as a program manager I acted as the sole product owner within Operations for Salesforce and Service Cloud,  managing the end-to-end success of it for my internal and external stakeholders.

This role was more involved than many of my peer's programs due to the sheer size and scope of my product. For new teams migrating to Service Cloud, I was responsible for every step of the project except coding. I designed each team a new user interface specific to their team's needs, oversaw and directed our developers on the build, planned and executed UAT, coordinated staffing plans with workforce, trained teams and managers, and taught them how to manage their reports and data.

As I grew to be the only subject matter expert on Service Cloud, I became an important resource to everyone from advisors to upper senior management. I was the sole person supporting the 25+ existing teams in Operations on Service Cloud, handling all day-to-day activities, questions, and fixes/issues in QA and production. I evaluated, purchased, and implemented 3rd party technologies to make our advisor's experiences better and to raise NPS scores and productivity. And I established and led a special team of 16 to execute on projects that would roll out to advisors across multiple lines of business.

 

I genuinely loved my job at FIS and everyone I worked with, but found myself aspiring to use my resources and personal privilege towards more meaningful work in my community. In late 2020 I chose to leave FIS and dedicate all of my time to running for Congress, with the goal of beating Republican incumbent Steve Chabot and driving stronger progressive policies benefiting Cincinnatians. My experience at FIS was invaluable to building the skill sets and qualities needed for managing a campaign and being a congresswoman, and I have no doubt that I am qualified and capable of turning the district blue.

 
Why I am Running

Unlike my opponent, I don't have vast experience in politics or connections on the Hill. Unlike him I am not and will never be a career politician, nor will I take money from lobbyists and corporate PACs. And unlike him, I have the interests of everyone across the entire district in mind, not just the areas gerrymandered to give him a win.

I'm running for Congress against a 20+ year incumbent because he has proven time and time again that he has no desire to pass big policies that help working people. Cincinnatians are entitled to have a representative that is willing to take a strong stance on progressive policies for health, housing, and education, and to be represented by someone who is not indebted to corporate PACs and past favors.

 

I propose that my lack of experience in politics gives me a leg up on my opponent; coming from the private sector with no baggage means that I am not beholden to anyone except my constituents. I've built my platform around issues that will unite the blue areas of Hamilton County and the red areas of Warren County towards a better quality of life for all, regardless of party, race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. 

I will fight for programs that bring equality, reform, and wellness to our district. I want your kids and my (future) kids to have a better, healthier life than our parents did. Being close with the Down Syndrome community and volunteering throughout Cincinnati has exposed me to many walks of life, including those much less fortunate than my own; I understand the personal privilege I have and want to use it to become a representative for the district who will pass policies providing others with a more equal playing field. 

That's why I'm running for Congressional District 1.