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On Life and Meaning

Apr 5, 2019

Tom Warshauer is Assistant Director, Community Engagement for the City of Charlotte’s Housing & Neighborhood Services Department. In his 29-year career at the City, Tom has worked with business and neighborhood groups to enhance quality of life in Charlotte. He is an American Leadership Forum fellow and has served on several community councils and boards, including as chair of the Community Building Initiative and as a founding board member of Equality NC, The Wesley Mancini Foundation and Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund. He is a Human Rights Commission Charlotte Chapter’s Legacy Award Honoree for fostering equity in the Charlotte community. Tom earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture and Fine Arts from Rice University and a Master of Arts in Real Estate from MIT.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in community engagement, neighborhood development, creating a city, and celebrating diverse and authentic lives.


  • Tom explains how he helps residents become more engaged in their neighborhoods.
  • He talks about how people feel about their neighborhoods and neighborhood data sets.
  • He notes the common concerns of neighborhoods and which neighborhoods are getting it right.
  • He outlines the role his department is playing in economic mobility efforts.
  • Tom talks about the importance of city markets in developing neighborhoods.
  • He shares what’s changed during his 29 years of work in city management.
  • He discusses what he means by doing what one can do right now.
  • He describes growing up in Wilmington, NC, the Warshauer family, and being a middle-child who loved Lemon Pledge and go-carting.
  • Tom remembers his excitement moving to New Orleans, loving his time in high school, his nights in the French Quarter, and liking intermission at the Opera.
  • He talks about studying architecture at Rice University, restoring buildings and homes in Houston and Wilmington, and earning a masters degree in real estate at MIT.
  • He explains why he moved to and stayed in Charlotte, and the work he is most proud of in his career.
  • He answers whether he has an interest in returning to home restoration work.
  • Tom discusses harvesting the fruit of seeds that he has planted and what he has learned from his relationships.
  • Tom shares what he values most about people and the diversity of their lives.

plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay: A Young Man from the Provinces

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning