After living in Scarsdale for 25 years and serving in multiple local civic organizations, Randy Whitestone wants to use his current professional and past volunteer experience to serve as a trustee on the village board of trustees.
Whitestone, 58, is one-third of the 2020 Citizens’ Non-Partisan Party trustee ticket for this year’s village election. He and current trustees Justin Arest and Lena Crandall will be on the ballot March 18.
Although he recently stepped back from volunteering, Whitestone knows the impact volunteering can have on a community. His father, an avid community organizer in Chappaqua where Whitestone grew up, was the president of a local civic organization and helped the village construct a new library. His father’s civic volunteerism inspired him later in life to pursue similar volunteer positions in Scarsdale with the nonprofit Scarsdale Forum, including a stint as chair of the Forum’s village Fiscal Affairs Committee and treasurer of the Scarsdale Procedure Committee. He also served on the Forum’s Executive Committee and Audit Committee, the Scarsdale Foundation Bowl Committee, the Citizens Nominating Committee, the Arthur Manor Neighborhood Association Board of Directors, and was an instructor at the Scarsdale Young Writers’ Workshop.
“I feel like civic involvement is critical to the life of a vibrant community like Scarsdale. It’s really important,” said Whitestone. “Time is a precious commodity, but I think it’s a very important gift that people can give to their community.”
In his professional life, Whitestone has been through “every stage of the corporate life cycle.” In 2008 he was part of a communications team at Lehman Brothers during the financial crisis. After Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and Neuberger Berman spun out as the existing asset management firm, Whitestone became head of communications for that firm. He then took a position at The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm that went public in 2012.
“I’ve been through all these various stages of corporate life cycle,” he said.
Whitestone now works as head of communications and public affairs for The D. E. Shaw Group, a global investment and technology development firm.
With his professional experience in the communications field — he also worked as a financial journalist at Bloomberg News prior to his public relations experience — Whitestone, who has a B.A. from the University of Rochester and an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, thinks he can help the board.
“The two parts of my career, the skill sets that come together are complementary because, as a journalist [and] as a communications person, you really have to get access to information, you have to synthesize that information, you have to communicate that information,” he said. “Those skills will certainly come in handy should the people of Scarsdale support my candidacy.”
According to Whitestone, he has a “black belt in crisis communications,” a skill he believes will help in his candidacy for becoming a trustee.
When asked about Freightway and his opinion of the board’s recent decision to put the project on hold, Whitestone said, “I don’t have a specific opinion. I think a lot of people have spent a lot more time than I have looking at this issue. It’s certainly something that I plan to get up to speed on. But I don’t want to foreclose any perspective that I might bring to it by giving a definitive answer on it.”
Whitestone said he had lived in the town long enough to see all the different solutions and ideas for the Freightway project and that if he were elected, he would work with fellow trustees to try and come to a long-term solution while “listening to the community [and] gaining a perspective.”
“I think one of the roles of the trustee that’s very important is to be the eyes, ears and voice for the community,” he said. “So I would look to play that role in the Freightway [project].”
When questioned about the empty storefronts downtown, Whitestone said he would “try to help the community reach creative solutions working with both public and private entities.”
“I think the fact that there are so many more restaurants than there used to be is great. There’s a bookstore that we should all support. Zachys is a crown jewel. We have a good foundation; it’s really a question of getting support for some additional solutions that would be somewhat creative and innovative, but it would have to involve public and private entities,” he said.
Whitestone said he didn’t have a specific solution to the issues plaguing the empty storefronts downtown but, if elected to the board of trustees, he could help “catalyze people toward solutions.”
“I’m certainly in favor of more community outreach … but I think the more you can play that role of gathering those perspectives … the better,” he said.
Because of his previous experience volunteering, Whitestone said he’s comfortable with the balancing act he’ll face as a volunteer trustee. Although he noted it wouldn’t be easy, he said things are different from when he was volunteering years ago for various organizations, because his two kids — both graduates of Scarsdale High School — are now grown.
“This will be the sole focus of my civic activities. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, there’s going to be juggling, but certainly I’ll try to devote nights and weekends when necessary to make sure I serve the community,” he said. “I think the sort of skill set that I bring to the table through my professional and education background will hopefully serve the community well.”