This fall, Tallahassee native and Florida A&M University (FAMU) graduate, Tola Thompson will serve as the director of governmental relations at his alma matter.
“I thought this would be a great opportunity to give something back and a great challenge,” said Thompson, who is responsible for FAMU’s lobbying activities at the state, federal and local levels. Thompson also is responsible for assessing the impact of regulations and providing policy direction on behalf of the university.
According to Thompson, he will lead the efforts to advance FAMU’s legislative and regulatory agendas, build and maintain effective working relationships with legislators, lobbyists and other government officials and develop and implement FAMU's strategic government affairs initiatives.
Thompson’s resume includes experience as the director of governmental affairs and communications for the Black Alliance for Educational Options, a national non-profit membership organization and communications director, senior legislative assistant and political director for U.S. Representative Carrie Meek.
A passion for education seems to run in the family. Thompson’s mother, Alice, taught English at Cobb Middle School in Tallahassee and went on to become a guidance counselor. His father, George, for a time, taught health at FAMU and served as the head trainer and equipment manager for the football team for more than 50 years.
“In a way, I've always wanted to be involved in education,” Thompson said. “There's no better place to do that than at FAMU, which helps to prepare students for important leadership positions and social responsibility in an increasingly complex world.”
Thompson said his biggest challenge is one he is sharing with FAMU’s entire faculty and staff.
“Everyone here has the same objective,” Thompson said. “Restoring the public’s confidence in the university and earning back their trust and demonstrating that we are good stewards of the public’s money and that we know what we are doing.”
Thompson has goals he intends to meet. “I hope to build strong, meaningful and lasting relationships with the Florida Legislature, Congress, and federal and state agencies in an effort to assist President Ammons in fulfilling his vision for the university,” he said.