A Welcome Letter from Laura Brief, 826 National’s New CEO

October 2, 2017

I am thrilled to be joining this team.

For the entirety of my career, I have considered 826 as an organization that readily deserves my and the rest of the country’s admiration. The reason for that is simple: the work you do has impact.

As we get to know one another, I will make every effort to demonstrate that the work we now share is professional, of course, but personal as well. I come to this not just as a long-standing fan, but also as a woman whose life was substantively and critically influenced by educators who helped me grasp the power and importance of writing and storytelling.

I believe that these skills, which lie at the very heart of our mission, are critical tools for creating a better world. It is through them that the human experience is recorded, communicated, and understood. At the heart of every empathetic act is a person motivated to act by the lessons they took from some sort of narrative.

When we consider this work at this moment, it is impossible to ignore that we are living through a crisis point that can only be made better by ensuring that the next generation is equipped to think critically and express themselves authentically and powerfully. Our students must advocate for the future they envision.

You are doing the precise work—achieving educational impact through engagement of the whole of the young person—that will lead us to a brighter future.

This is a proud day for me. Together we will create a strong future for the Network, for our students and, perhaps even, the nation.

I look forward to learning from all of you, working alongside you, and, together, writing the next great story of the 826 Network.


More About Laura: 

Laura has been a longtime champion of 826, beginning as a volunteer back in the 826 Network’s earliest days.

Laura brings with her a deep commitment to the 826 mission, culture, and values. As a student in New York City public schools, Laura’s early classroom experience left gaps that ultimately placed her in an English as a Second Language (ESL) class when transferring elementary schools. It was great teachers who further on fostered her love of writing. Laura found her voice through poetry and studied creative writing in high school in New Orleans.

Laura started her career as a therapist for young people and survivors of trauma, and she soon realized that she wanted to shift her focus to changing the landscape where this trauma was occurring. It was when she crossed paths with The Posse Foundation that she changed course and began an eight-year-long odyssey to support the growth and expansion of Posse’s reach and offerings. At The Posse Foundation, Laura was the architect and founding National Director of Career Programs, Corporate Engagement and Alumni Engagement where she designed, led, and scaled a program aimed at supporting students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to transition from being leaders on campus to becoming leaders in the workforce.

Most recently, Laura was the Executive Director of BUILD Bay Area, an organization dedicated to using entrepreneurship-based experiential learning to ignite the potential of youth from under-resourced communities and propel them towards high school, college, and career success. She also currently serves as the chair of the board of Youth Speaks, a national arts organization dedicated to empowering young people to discover, develop, and apply the power of their voices through writing and performing spoken word.

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