We are thrilled to announce that Laura Manley will be joining the Shorenstein Center as its next Executive Director. Laura is currently Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs’ Technology and Public Purpose (TAPP) Project at Harvard Kennedy School, and is an experienced leader in higher education and non-governmental organizations, with over a decade of experience using data and technology for the health of democratic societies.
As the inaugural director of TAPP, Laura built a thriving program of fellowships, publications, awards, and policy resources that aim to steer rapid technology-driven change in directions that serve the public good. In this role she has testified before Congress twice on improving technology expertise and capacity in government. Her work at TAPP has centered on improving the way institutions like Congress understand and use technology, so that they can make better public policy decisions.
Previously, Laura co-founded the Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE), a nonpartisan research organization in Washington, D.C. that works with governments to leverage data for social and economic good. At CODE she worked with over a dozen U.S. federal agencies on their data management strategies and with eight national governments on digital economy policies and IT modernization efforts. She previously served as Senior Consultant for the World Bank Group and the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs.
“I am excited to be joining the Shorenstein Center to help build a healthier information ecosystem,” says Laura. “Over the past decade, I’ve dedicated my career to ensuring that people get high quality information and data to make evidence-based decisions – and the media, journalists, and policymakers are a critical part of this equation. The work the Shorenstein Center is doing on all sides of the information ecosystem right now is deeply important, and I am honored to support it.”
In addition to her work leading innovative research and engagement programs, Laura has also served as an Adjunct Professor at the NYU Wagner School of Public Policy, and as an Instructor at the Harvard University Extension School. Earlier in her career, Laura spent years working in the mental health field leading an advocacy and awareness organization. This experience has given her later work a particular lens towards prioritizing the human aspects of technology above all, and has informed her leadership and management style to prioritize the wellbeing of people on her team and community.
She holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from UMass Amherst and a Master in Public Administration from NYU. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and two young children, and in her spare time enjoys cheering for the Red Sox, cycling, and figuring out how to keep plants alive.
We are excited to welcome Laura to the Shorenstein Center at this pivotal time for the Center, as we build on our 35-year history to create robust, interdisciplinary programs dedicated to understanding the matrix of threats to our information ecosystem, and investigating a broad range of approaches to stopping them. Laura’s keen intellect, leadership experience, and human-centered approach to the challenges and possibilities of our modern era will help guide the Shorenstein Center forward in this period of growth and innovation.