Mike Signer

Mike Signer

Mike Signer is an executive, public servant, attorney, and author who served as the mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, from 2016–2018, a AAA-bond-rated city of nearly 50,000 that was ranked the #4 city for entrepreneurs by Entrepreneur magazine during his tenure and which he served during the violent Unite the Right rally of 2017.

Afterward, he founded and chaired Communities Overcoming Extremism: the After Charlottesville Project, a bipartisan coalition including the Anti-Defamation League, the Ford Foundation, the Charles Koch Institute, the Fetzer Institute, and New America.

In 2022, Mike became North America Policy Director for Airbnb, the publicly-traded travel and hospitality technology company whose community includes millions of guests and hosts around the world. He oversees a team of over 30 professionals who address public policy challenges and opportunities at the national, regional, state, and local level in the United States and Canada, including home rental regulations, zoning, affordable housing, trust and safety, and sustainability.

From 2017 - 2022 he was Partner, VP and General Counsel of WillowTree, the country’s largest independent digital design agency, where he sat on the executive committee. He served as Founder and Managing Principal of Madison Law & Strategy Group, PLLC, from 2010 - 2016. Earlier in his career he was counsel to Governor Mark Warner in Richmond, Virginia, and an attorney at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr in Washington, D.C.

He is the author of three books: Cry Havoc: Charlottesville and American Democracy under Siege (PublicAffairs, 2020), Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father (PublicAffairs, 2015), and Demagogue: the Fight to Save Democracy from Its Worst Enemies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). He has written for the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Time. He has taught at the University of Virginia’s Batten School for Leadership and Public Policy and Virginia Tech's School of Public and International Affairs.  In the fall of 2022, he was a Visiting Professor and Democracy Fellow at Reichman University in Israel.

He has held many leadership positions in political and civic organizations, including serving on the Boards of the Truman National Security Project, the Center for National Policy, the Council on Virginia's Future, the Virginia Board of Medicine, and as Chair of the Emergency Food Network in Charlottesville, Virginia.  He served on several advisory boards of the Joe Biden for President campaign and raised $150,000 for the campaign.  He was the chair of the Homeland Security Transition Committee for the McAuliffe for Governor Campaign.  He has been an active voting rights attorney, including serving as Virginia Voter Protection Director for the Democratic National Committee.  In 2010, he was an election monitor on behalf of the U.S. government in wartime Afghanistan in the country's parliamentary elections.

He is a recipient of awards from the Anti-Defamation League, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and the American Society for Yad Vashem.  In 2017, Forward Magazine named him one of 50 most influential Jewish leaders in America. He is an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow. He has been profiled by the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, CNN, the Guardian, and Corporate Counsel.

He holds a J.D. from the University of Virginia, a Ph.D. in political science from U.C., Berkeley, and graduated magna cum laude from Princeton, where he was a work-study student. He attended public schools in Arlington, Virginia.

He lives with his wife and their twin boys in Fairfax County. In his spare time, he enjoys running, reading, cooking, gardening, and being a jungle gym for his boys.