Kate Villarreal is the senior strategic communications director for the Urban Institute. She works in close partnership with research and communications staff to lead and execute strategies that raise the visibility of research, engage critical audiences, and help drive smart evidence-based policy. From 2013 to 2016, she was the communications manager for Urban’s Justice Policy Center.
Villarreal joined Urban after serving two years in the Obama administration as public and media affairs staff for former US Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Before this, she pursued graduate study in political communication while managing communications for a nonprofit organization in the Texas Hill Country, where she wrote a weekly news column for the local paper. From 2003 to 2007, Villarreal was a community organizer in Seattle and earned citywide recognition for leading an effort to preserve public housing at Yesler Terrace. She received a BA in history from Macalester College and an MA in political communication from the University of Texas, San Antonio.