Social justice leader Malia Lazu joins MIT Sloan to accelerate ecosystem inclusion in the innovation economy


CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 18, 2020 – The MIT Sloan School of Management recently announced that veteran social justice leader Malia Lazu was appointed a lecturer to help build an inclusive innovation economy community. The former executive vice president and regional president at Berkshire Bank joins Associate Dean of Innovation and Inclusion Fiona Murray and Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ray Reagans in creating a series of community conversations called “The Inclusive Innovation Economy: Ideas + Actions.”

Malia Lazu, veteran social justice leader and former executive vice president and regional president at Berkshire Bank, joins MIT Sloan.

“I am delighted to welcome Malia as we work to make innovation more inclusive and identify actions that lead to impact,” says Murray. “At MIT Sloan, we seek to drive change and break the barriers to innovation.”

Lazu notes, “I’m excited to join the MIT community, which is comprised of enthusiastic students, faculty, alumni, and staff who share the goal of creating action-oriented discussions on inclusivity and innovation. This is an opportunity to dive deep into different ways of thinking about innovation and inclusion and injecting hard problems related to systemic and institutional racism and sexism into this ecosystem to find solutions.”

The goal of the community conversations, says Lazu, is to engage leaders who are on the leading edge of cultural change with the broader MIT community and to offer participants actions they can take to make a difference. “Every conversation will be a catalyst for innovation and inclusion to take root.”

The conversations will kick off in October, with the first discussion focused on rebuilding more inclusive black and brown economies in Massachusetts in a post-COVID world. Additional conversations will focus on areas such as education, capital flow and investment, and cultural influence and business.

Lazu is known for her work in social justice and inclusivity nationally. In addition to her recent roles at Berkshire Bank as executive vice president, chief experience and culture officer, and regional president, she is founder of The Urban Labs, which seeks to help businesses better understand the nuances of diversity and to integrate culture and diversity into strategy, leadership, and corporate culture.

She also continues her role as president of the Epicenter Community, an ecosystem of creators, consumers, and investors that create businesses and jobs to create a culture of bridge building.

Previously, Lazu served as executive director of Future Boston Alliance, an adjunct professor at Emerson College, and executive director of The Gathering for Justice. She also was a Mel King Fellow at the Community Innovators Lab at MIT. She holds an undergraduate degree in political communication from Emerson College.

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