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Surlene Grant, Director, Bay Area

Portrait of Surlene Grant, Director, Bay Area

Surlene Grant is a senior mediator and facilitator with the Center. She is experienced with implementing and managing communications activities including public involvement and outreach, strategic planning and conflict resolution in private, government and non-profit sectors.

Ms. Grant’s niche is with public involvement for community development, environment, planning, transportation and land use projects in ethnically, economically and socially diverse communities. Ms. Grant has planned facilitated and guided small working groups, workshops, dialogue sessions, and large public meetings – ranging in size from 4 to 200.

Ms. Grant enjoys encouraging participation of voices that are often not heard in government processes. She is experienced in employing techniques and tools to solicit responses, generate ideas, encourage creativity and cooperation and developing action plans with measurable outcomes.

For the Center, Ms. Grant led a facilitation process for the Hamilton Wetlands Restoration Project. Ms. Grant worked with Center colleagues to successfully guide the public participation and facilitation needs for the completion and adoption Napa County’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment. She is currently guiding the evaluation of a proposed county-wide program with County of Sonoma Department of Health Services Department; and she is designing and facilitating a visioning process for the Piedmont Unified School District.

Prior to joining the center’s management team, Surlene worked as a consultant complementing the breadth of the Center’s senior staff. She also has in her portfolio the successful co-creation, implementation and management of the  Dumbarton Dialogue Project, a multi-jurisdictional effort to develop consensus for transportation issues of the Dumbarton Bridge / Hwy. 101/ 84/ 85 corridor involving six cities and two counties; as wells as facilitation of a series of Title VI community meetings for BART. In addition, she is currently managing the public involvement and outreach process for the City of East Palo Alto’s General Plan Updates and West Oakland Specific Plan. Ms.Grant  developed the strategy for the public outreach program to municipalities for the nine-county Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Communities Draft Compact. The document focused on sustainable practices in 10 program areas including housing, jobs and transportation. Ms. Grant also served on the award-winning consulting team for ABAG’s Smart Growth/ Footprint Project.

Most recently, Ms. Grant completed a decade of service on the San Leandro City Council. Ms. Grant has a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL and a M.A. in Management from John F. Kennedy University, Orinda, CA.