Laurie Jones Neighbors is an educator and independent consultant who specializes in course and program development in support of equitable political representation and local, regional, and national decision making by low-income communities and communities of color.
She is the former Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives at Urban Habitat, where she served on the organization’s management team and was the architect of the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI), a highly successful program focused on preparing and placing under-represented resident-leaders on local and regional boards and commissions.
While at Urban Habitat, Laurie also managed the Bay Area Social Equity Caucus, the region’s multi-sector, multi-issue coalition, and its annual State of the Region conference. She developed and launched Urban Habitat's educational technology component for strengthening the collective impact of leadership institute advocates.
Prior to joining the staff of Urban Habitat, Laurie had a twenty-year career in higher education, having taught in and directed a number of academic programs for under-represented students at several universities and colleges in Texas, Oregon, and California. She is the recipient of many teaching awards. She has two master’s degrees – one in Rhetoric and Composition from Texas Tech University, and the other in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine. She serves as an adjunct professor in the Health Education Department of San Francisco State University, teaching courses on such topics as the history of health and social movements in the US and structural inequalities and public health. At SFSU, she also serves as the Coordinator for the Metro Academy of Business, a program that supports first-generation students in their first and seconds years of college as they explore opportunities for using degrees in Business to advance social justice goals.
Laurie's progressive movement and leadership work draws heavily on her teaching experiences, her academic preparation, and her upbringing in rural and conservative communities in Louisiana and Texas, as well as her more recent experiences living and working in communities on California's Central Coast, in Central Oregon, in Southern California, and in the San Francisco Bay Area, her current home.