Who We Are

Laura Russ

Laura RussLAURA RUSS

email: lruss@vivaconsult.com

EDUCATION

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA
Masters in City Planning (MCP), Department of Urban Studies and Planning

The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
BA, Political Science

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“Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now.
The conditions are always impossible

– Doris Lessing

Laura Russ brings a rich background in the area of systems and processes for real estate firms. Laura focuses on the use of information systems and processes to improve operations and organizational capacity. She is experienced in all areas of housing organizations including asset management, financial/accounting procedures, human resources, information systems, policy documentation, and operational areas. Most recently, she led the Business Process group at the nation’s largest affordable housing management company, WinnResidential. Prior to Winn, she led Operations at a 5,000 unit property management company based in the Midwest.

Laura consults and trains on all aspects of organizational structure including using technology more effectively, building asset and property management systems, and strengthening internal systems to support the operations of growing organizations. She is most interested in work that helps organizations structure and integrate their systems, policies and people towards a common goal.

Reorganized business processes for large affordable housing manager. Worked with corporate department leadership to enhance or redesign technology to fit business needs including financial and management policies related to procurement, human resources, invoice process, and compliance needs. WinnResidential of Boston, MA

Refocused property data gathering from data storage to business intelligence. Designed and implemented on-line database for portfolio-level information tracking and data mining. WinnResidential of Boston, MA

Developed professional senior staff training curriculum for non-profit property manager based on organizational assessment. Reviewed organizational structure and operations to propose workshop based training curriculum intended to address organizational efficiencies and increase staff capacity to creatively and analytically solve common challenges. Home City Housing Development Corporation of Springfield, MA

Conducted organizational assessment for growing supportive housing provider. Performed business process assessment of financial systems, management systems, and organizational structure for non-profit supportive housing provider. Providing ongoing organizational development and technical assistance to support implementation. Center City Housing of Duluth, MN

Assessed non-profit housing provider’s organizational capacity and financial processes. Reviewed organizational structure and capacity with particular emphasis on financial procedures. Interviewed staff, reviewed relevant documents, and prepared report for interim COO and Board. Mutual Housing Association of Southwestern Connecticut

Led asset management and employee assessment system. Monitored company-wide performance of properties to identify common trends and develop property performance metrics to aligned results with employee reviews and compensation, training, communication, and internal policies. Revised budgeting tools and measured effectiveness of reporting and asset management techniques. Thies and Talle Management of Chanhassen, MN

Director for internal operating procedures. Overhauled company-wide policies for property management company’s “Operations Manual” including all compliance related updates, forms, and procedures. Created searchable and secure online site for easy access by property staff. Thies and Talle Management of Chanhassen, MN

WinnResidential, Boston, MA
Director of Business Process, 2011- 2013

Responsible for redesigning business processes by leveraging new and existing strategic business systems for the nation’s largest manager of affordable housing. Winner of companywide “Rookie of the Year” award (June 2012) and WinnersCircle winner honoring top 3% of employees (2013)

Thies and Talle Management, Inc., Chanhassen, MN (Cambridge, MA office)
Director of Operations, 2006-2011
Director of Business Systems, 2004-2006
Regional Property Manager, 2003-2004

Led business operations of privately-owned, 350-person real estate company including asset and property management for 4,800 units in six states involving market rate, affordable (Section 8, tax credit, Section 236, and Rural Development), and commercial properties.

Abt Associates Inc., Housing and Community Revitalization, Chicago, IL and Bethesda, MD
Senior Analyst, 2001-2003, and Analyst, 1998-1999

Provided technical assistance to local housing authorities and evaluations for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) including HOPE VI and Moving to Work. Managed contracts, assisted with proposals, and served as site contact for multiple projects.

Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), Change Management Practice, Chicago, IL
Consultant, 1996-1998

Worked on organizational change management issues surrounding legacy, client/server, and PeopleSoft system implementations primarily in Financial Services, Utility and Government industries.

Cambridge Montessori School
Vice-President and Trustee, June 2011-2015
Serve as Vice-President and Committee Chair for Campus and Facilities Committee.