Lisa has been building social justice programs, initiatives and organizations since 1995, when she founded a program at Global Exchange to engage youth and adults around immigration, trade and labor in California’s agricultural regions and at the US/Mexico border.
During the dot-com boom, she provided intensive capacity building and technical assistance to groups fighting to preserve affordability in San Francisco’s low-income neighborhoods, specifically Bayview Hunters Point and South of Market, where she helped establish and stabilize several organizations that continue to serve residents and organize on local issues. She also wrote a paper for PolicyLink about the possibilities of using GIS mapping and data to support community organizing.
She then spent a decade as Associate Director of the Movement Strategy Center. In that role, she built MSC’s infrastructure and managed the growing staff while providing consulting, training, strategic planning and capacity building to local, statewide and national groups engaged in racial justice work. In addition to organizations and alliances, Lisa worked with several foundations to facilitate learning groups and networks of practitioners.
Lisa also co-founded and led a network of organization development practitioners who support social change organizations, and co-authored a paper about the unique challenges and opportunities of supporting social justice organizations to create and sustain internal change. The network, ODSC, has been in existence since 2004.
Beginning in 2010, Lisa supported Strong Families, a national initiative to secure the rights, recognition and resources that all families need to thrive. Lisa led the development of their communications and digital strategies which included creating multiple platforms, leading online campaigns, training and engaging partners, managing large consultant teams, and creating a highly successful Mama’s Day campaign which has become a cornerstone of Strong Families’ work.
Lisa Russ is now working as an independent consultant providing organizational strategy, capacity and communications support for a range of organizations. She supports groups by providing pathways for information gathering, direct conversations and clear decision-making. As a process queen who loves measureable results, Lisa helps organizations navigate critical change moments by providing structure, tools and resources to support clear thinking and solid implementation. Lisa is driven by a deep curiosity about change at every scale.