Assistant County Manager & Director of Communications and Public Engagement
Dr. Bryna Helfer is Assistant County Manager and Director of Communications and Public Engagement. Prior to joining Arlington County, she was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Engagement for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). She also served as the Senior Advisor to the USDOT Secretary on Accessibility and Workforce Development.
She has 30+ years of experience initiating, leading, and facilitating interagency coordination, program development, strategic planning, program evaluation, and systems change initiatives. She has a long history of coalition building at the federal, state, and local levels, and is known for her ability to forge partnerships between governmental programs and community based organizations.
Helfer previously served as Senior Director of Civic Engagement for the National Academy of Public Administration, the Manager of Strategic Planning for the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the Senior Advisor for the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility, the Director of Easter Seals Project ACTION, and the Director of the National Traumatic Brain Injury Technical Assistance Center. She began her career working in therapeutic recreation, enhancing opportunities for people with disabilities.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University, a master’s degree from George Mason University, and a doctorate from The George Washington University. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspiring Leaders Award and the Secretary of Transportation’s Gold Medal Award. She was most recently honored by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials for “Women Moving the Nation.”
Helfer has lived in Arlington since 1989 and is active in the Highland Park-Overlee Knolls Neighborhood Association. She has served on the Arlington Aquatics Committee and the Board of Directors of the ENDepedence Center of Northern Virginia. She also plays violin with Malarky and the Symphony of Northern Virginia.