Katharine Lusk

Image of Katharine Lusk

Co-Director Emerita of the Initiative on Cities

MPP, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
BA, Williams College

Katharine Lusk was Co-Director and Founding Executive Director of the Boston University Initiative on Cities, which spearheads university-wide programs and research, including the national Menino Survey of Mayors, place-based experiential learning for students and multi-stakeholder events. She has a track record of discipline-spanning research collaboration with public health researchers, environmental scientists, social workers, political scientists, data scientists and public officials. Katharine is passionate about busting silos, connecting people, respecting lived experience, and inspiring young people to pursue public service. 

She is a champion for urban research and education across BU, serving in advisory roles to the URBAN interdisciplinary doctoral program in Biogeoscience and Environmental Health, Spark!, the Data Science for Good Initiative, City Planning & Urban Affairs, and the Urban Climate Initiative. She is also on the Boston Area Research Initiative board, an inter-university consortium advancing research impact.

Katharine was a Policy Advisor to late Boston Mayor Tom Menino, where she led his work to make Boston the best city in the country for working women. She created the Boston Women’s Workforce Council, a unique collaborative governance partnership focused on closing the gender wage gap, and later served on the Council for many years as a mayoral appointee. Katharine also launched a capital fund for child care providers and Women on Main, a platform for women small business owners, as well as the nation’s first mobile city hall, City Hall to Go. Prior to entering public service, Katharine worked as a brand strategist and researcher for Fortune 500 companies for ten years.

She has a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she received the Barbara Jordan Award for Women’s Leadership and the Manuel Carballo Award for her graduate thesis modeling state-run paid family leave for Massachusetts. She earned her BA from Williams College.

Katharine is now the Executive Director of the Boston Planning Advisory Council.

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