About Laurel O’Sullivan, J.D. Founder and Principal
Laurel O’Sullivan is passionate about supporting both individual nonprofits leaders who want to amplify their leadership and become better advocates within their organization and in their own careers as well as organizations looking to strengthen their advocacy leadership.
Her earliest experience in advocacy came while growing up with 3 older brothers and a mom who wanted a go-along get-along girl. At her core that’s not who Laurel was and remains. She is passionate about injustice and curious and committed to finding the truths in ourselves and our world. That early and experience finding and asserting her voice propelled her to law school and nearly two decades of advocating for and helping nonprofits to find their voice and assert their influence.
She spent the first half of her career as a lawyer enforcing clean water protections for communities around the Great Lakes and nationally while working for the Alliance for the Great Lakes, NRDC and the firm of Terris, Pravlik and Millian LLC. She later boosted funding by 250% and created an advocacy platform for Illinois social service nonprofits and foundations as Vice President of Policy at Forefront, an association of foundations and nonprofits.
In 2013 Laurel founded the Advocacy Collaborative because she understands first hand the challenges nonprofits experience with advocacy and has also witnessed its transformative power for both nonprofits and the people and causes they serve. Since 2013 Laurel has drawn upon her signature AdvocacyForward (TM) approach while coaching, training and speaking to hundreds of nonprofits about how to use advocacy to transform their mission and their world.
Laurel lives in Evanston, Il with her husband Tim, 5 kids and dog Blue. In her free time she likes to do Crossfit and also swim and run along the shores of Lake Michigan. Laurel served on the Social Service Advisory Council, for the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the board of the Young Center for Immigrant Children, at the University of Chicago. She has a B.A., honors from Northwestern and a J.D., honors, from Chicago Kent – IIT College of Law.