Laura Ann Fernea has over 30 years’ experience working at public and nonprofit agencies and institutions, including community development, education, international development and public health projects.

She has worked with schools, community clinics, universities, and government agencies, in the U.S. and in several African countries. As a Healthy Start Coordinator at a middle school in northern California, she implemented a community-wide needs assessment and then wrote a successful implementation grant. With her husband, she directed a new office for Project HOPE on the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.

In San Diego, she developed a Healthy Start coalition for a local elementary school and worked as an educational case manager for the Welcome Back Center, a Grossmont College program assisting international health professionals get licensed, find jobs, or receive appropriate training in the U.S.

As the Executive Director of the CHCDC, Laura Ann is committed to the organization’s mission to enhance the quality of life for and with the community of City Heights through affordable housing and community and economic development. Being born and raised in the Middle East as well as the U.S. has given her a unique perspective on some of the challenges faced by City Heights community residents.

Ms. Fernea received her Bachelor’s degree from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, has a Master’s degree in Applied International Development Studies from Texas Tech and another in Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is fluent in Spanish and previously spoke Arabic and French.  Her volunteer work spans her local PTA Board, ten years on the Nile Sisters Development Initiative Board, and her current service on the Jane Addams Peace Association Board of Directors.