Laura Sullivan

Laura Sullivan

'10 MPA
CDBG Disaster Recovery Program Manager
State of Rhode Island

Laura Sullivan is the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program manager for the state of Rhode Island. She earned a BA in Sociology and Economics from Rice University in 2001. In 2010, she received an MS in Environmental Science from SUNY-ESF, 2010 and an MPA from the Maxwell School. She currently lives in Warwick, Rhode Island.

The Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) establishes housing policy for the State of Rhode Island. OHCD provides staff support to the Housing Resources Commission, a group of stakeholders committed to addressing housing and homelessness issues in the State. OHCD also administers state and federal funds on behalf of Rhode Island, including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

The majority of Laura’s time is dedicated to disaster recovery efforts. Since 2010, Rhode Island has received approximately $28 million in CDBG Disaster Recovery funds from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including an allocation for Hurricane Sandy. Laura works with local, state, federal, and other stakeholders to identify and fund unmet recovery needs.

“My experiences at Maxwell are the foundation of my current success,” Laura says. “I constantly deal with officials from all levels of government and other sectors. Catherine Gerard's Managerial Leadership course, David Van Slyke's Implementation/Tools of Government course, and Rosemary O'Leary's Alternative Dispute Resolution all remain fresh and relevant. I hope the conflict management center is still active. The training and practice through the CMC were invaluable.”

Laura’s advice to current students: “Don't hesitate to reach out to alumni and others. I initiated many networking interviews. None led directly to a position, but I learned a lot that has proven useful. Try Toastmasters (maybe not at the same time you are enrolled in a graduate program). It will help you improve your public speaking skills.”