Primo Lasana

Executive Master of Public Administration-Public Service Leaders

Primo Lasana

Can you tell us a bit about your job responsibilities? What were you doing before starting your current position?

Reading Partners is a national nonprofit focused on literacy intervention for students in grades K-4. I lead our New York region, overseeing a team of 35 people. I am responsible for regional health in terms of the programs at 17 schools, fundraising for our 2.6M dollar budget, and the recruitment of hundreds of community volunteers.

Before starting this position, I had worked in college access for nearly a decade, but realized that the interventions needed to occur earlier in the educational pipeline. Our outcomes at Reading Partners are measurable and impactful, something that had not always been present at other organizations. My current role is a combination of my previous experiences with programs, recruitment, and fundraising. I am also drawn to serve students in the NYC DOE, which I am a graduate of. Finally, our organization utilizes AmeriCorps members and I was a corps member myself after graduating from college.

What were you doing before you came to NYU Wagner? What brought you to the EMPA Program, and how did your time at NYU Wagner help you further your career in public service? 

I was a director of development before I entered the EMPA program, and one week after graduating, I became an Executive Director. I was initially drawn to the EMPA program because a career mentor of mine recommended the program years prior to my application. When I looked more closely at the program, it was focused on case studies, had a smaller cohort, allowed for me to have a full-time job, and required a smaller credit load. All of these items were highlights!

I left NYU Wagner with a fantastic network of peers. I explored my own leadership, I learned how to read financial statements, I consulted for a nonprofit. I became literate in leadership and theory, while enjoying new classes like multi-sector partnerships.

What public service impact do you hope to make through your organization and/or career?

I hope to bring racial justice to the forefront of our work in education. I hope to empower future leaders and create a happy workplace. I hope to empower young black and brown students through literacy.

What about your work is most fulfilling to you?

Many things, but if I had to choose one today, it would be collective impact work–partnering with other organizations to amplify our student success.