Katharine Lusk

Executive Director, Initiative on Cities

Katharine Lusk is the founding Executive Director of the Initiative on Cities at Boston University where she spearheads new university-wide programs and research, including the Menino Survey of Mayors, student government fellowships, original urban scholarship and multi-stakeholder conferences. She also serves as Senior Personnel to the NSF-funded Smart City Cloud Platform project directed by the Hariri Institute and on the Advisory Board of the BU Urban Affairs and City Planning program.

Katharine was a policy advisor to former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, where she led his work to make Boston the first city in the country to achieve pay equity for women. In addition to creating the Mayor’s Women’s Workforce Council, she authored, “Boston: Closing the Wage Gap,” identifying evidence-based interventions employers can take to close the gender wage gap. An enthusiastic civic entrepreneur, Katharine launched a new capital fund for child care providers, a platform for women small business owners, Women on Main, and the nation’s first mobile City Hall, City Hall to Go.

In 2014, she served as an advisor to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Successful Women, Successful Families Task Force. Prior to entering public service, Katharine worked as a brand strategist and researcher for Fortune 500 companies. She was most recently the VP/Director of Branding with McCann Erickson, the global advertising agency.

She received a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she was the recipient of 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.