Erika Poethig is vice president and chief innovation officer at the Urban Institute. She leads the Research to Action Lab, an innovation hub serving decisionmakers and creative thinkers eager to effect social change. The Lab draws on the breadth and depth of Urban’s research insights to test new strategies; develop cutting-edge tools, programs, and trainings; and provide strategic advice to public, philanthropic, nonprofit, and private-sector leaders.
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. At the MacArthur Foundation, she was associate director for housing. She was also assistant commissioner for policy, resource, and program development at the City of Chicago's Department of Housing. In the 1990s, she 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 the metropolitan Chicago area. Poethig serves on the boards of Mercy Housing and The College of Wooster.
Poethig was a Phi Beta Kappa member at The College of Wooster, was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Vienna, and has an MA with honors in public policy from the University of Chicago.