After a national recruitment and competitive process, City Manager Michael Ortega recently appointed Laurice Walker as the City of Tucson’s first chief equity officer.
Walker will lead the newly created Office of Equity and develop a comprehensive framework to advance equity in all aspects of city operations. In addition, Walker will evaluate best practices in cities across the country and develop recommendations to address existing race and socioeconomic-based inequities in service and infrastructure delivery throughout Tucson.
“This historic hire is symbolic of Mayor and Council’s commitment to ensuring fair outcomes for all Tucsonans,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “I am confident that Laurice will help our city improve delivery of service by identifying areas where bias and systemic inequality are getting in the way of access to quality parks, roads, and services.”
Vice Mayor Lane Santa Cruz, weighing in on the significance of this new role said, “While the Mayor and Council have moved the needle on equity, we’ve done so without an Equity Office and without a chief equity officer.” The Vice Mayor added, “I’m encouraged to have Laurice Walker join the City of Tucson team and confident in her ability to guide us throughout our journey to a place where race can no longer be used to predict life outcomes.”
Walker brings more than nine years of experience working with national leaders to define best practices around the understanding and application of equity, social justice, and accessibility in local government. “For diversity, equity, and inclusion work to be successful, it is important to be intentional about the City of Tucson’s relationships with the community,” Walker said. “Continuing to build trust and transparency will be key in creating a more inclusive and innovative city for all.”
Prior to being hired by the City of Tucson, Walker served as the diversity, equity and inclusion manager for the City of Plymouth, Minnesota. Her previous experience includes work as a project coordinator for the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Division of Race and Equity. Walker currently serves as an equity officer with the International City/County Management Association.
Walker holds dual degrees in industrial and organizational psychology and numerous professional certifications in diversity management, project management, and corporate training.