Lani Young, Executive Director
A native of Concord, New Hampshire, Lani Young joined the Urban Leaders Fellowship after working as the deputy campaign manager for Rep. Brittany Pettersen’s reelection campaign and spending a year traveling and teaching English in northern Japan. Prior to that, Lani taught early childhood education and kindergarten as a Teach For America Corps member at McMeen Elementary School in Denver and then joined Teach For America staff, where she worked to overhaul the support and hiring of new corps members for the Colorado region. A captain of the women's basketball team, she graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College (VT), and later completed a Masters of Education in Urban Leadership from the University of Colorado, Denver. She is a 2014 alumna of the Urban Leaders Fellowship. Lani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katherine Marulanda, Deputy Executive Director
Katherine hails from Medellín, Colombia and moved to Florida with her family when she was eight years old. She taught as an elementary school bilingual teacher in San Antonio Public Schools as a Teach For America corps member. Prior to joining the Urban Leaders team, Katherine was a legal intern with Florida Legal Services providing legal aid to clients with cases concerning issues affecting people in institutions – prisons, jails, juvenile detention centers, mental health treatment facilities and immigration detention centers. She attended the University of Florida on a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship, where she graduated cum laude with a focus in Spanish Literature, Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and International Relations. Katherine is a 2015 alumna of the Urban Leaders Fellowship. She can be reached at email@example.com.
THE HISTORY OF THE URBAN LEADERS FELLOWSHIP
In 2011, newly elected Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston, his then-Chief of Staff Damion LeeNatali, and Meg Lafave developed a bold vision for enacting progressive policies for all Coloradans, but they knew that most local elected officials, school board member, and legislators didn’t have the staff support that they needed to impact change. They knew Denver was a community full of talented young leaders looking to make an impact but lacking a clear path for involvement. Through their work on the front lines of progressive policies in Colorado, they also knew Denver’s robust network of nonprofit and government organizations needed a talent infusion of energetic, determined young leaders.
From this challenge and optimism grew the Urban Leaders Fellowship (ULF), connecting high-achieving, passionate leaders with the opportunity to make a real impact in the community. Partnering with like-minded elected officials and companies set on improving their cities and towns, ULF grew with each passing year, and is now working with ten elected and appointed officials and over 100 partner organizations across eight US cities.
Thanks to the hard work of close to 300 fellows across the country, ULF has influenced over 50 pieces of policy, including immigration reform, criminal justice reform, and early childhood education and school finance reform.