As Deputy Director, Elena Conte heads up Pratt Center’s organizational development and management of all programmatic initiatives. She advances collaborative advocacy campaigns that link our technical assistance practice with low income and communities of color to policy; on select projects, she leverages her two decades of experience in community-based planning to serve as a lead facilitator and urban planner on projects that improve housing, the environment, and economic opportunities for low-income New Yorkers. Since joining Pratt Center in 2007 as the Organizer for Public Policy campaigns, she has served in various roles deepening her experience on equitable land use, accountable development, sustainability, housing, and transportation equity issues.
Prior to joining Pratt Center, she led solid waste, energy and urban forestry efforts at Sustainable South Bronx and helped advance a successful citywide campaign to ensure that New York City's garbage export system is distributed throughout the five boroughs, instead of concentrated in low-income neighborhoods suffering the city's highest rates of environmental illness. She also directed Greening for Breathing's efforts to plant and care for trees as a community-based response to poor air quality and low canopy cover.
Born and raised in New York City, Elena holds an M.S. in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute and a dual B.A., in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and Spanish, from Stanford University. She is an Adjunct Professor at CUNY’s School of Labor and Urban Studies, a Senior Fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program, a Coro Immigrant Civic Leadership Program alum, and is a Fellow in the Sterling Network NYC, a 10-year initiative of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation to support a network of systems change leaders advancing economic justice.