Erika Poethig is vice president and chief innovation officer at the Urban Institute. She leads the Research to Action Lab, which is an innovation hub serving decisionmakers and creative thinkers eager to effect social change.
Before joining Urban, Poethig was acting assistant secretary for policy, development, and research at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. During her tenure in the Obama administration, she was also deputy assistant secretary for policy development and was a leading architect of the White House Council for Strong Cities and Strong Communities. As associate director for housing at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, she developed grantmaking strategies focused on rental housing policy and research and research on how housing matters. In the 1990s, she was assistant commissioner for policy, resource, and program development at the City of Chicago’s Department of Housing and developed Mayor Richard Daley’s campaign to combat predatory lending, prevent foreclosures, and stabilize communities. Previously, she was associate project director of the Metropolis Project, which produced the Metropolis 2020 agenda for regional leadership around the major issues faced by metropolitan Chicago. Poethig serves on the boards of the Low Income Investment Fund, Mercy Housing, and the College of Wooster.
She was a Phi Beta Kappa member at the College of Wooster and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Vienna, and she has an MA with honors in public policy from the University of Chicago.