The Sycamore Institute, an independent and nonpartisan public policy research center for Tennessee, announced that founding Executive Director Laura Berlind will step down later this year as her family prepares to relocate to the Washington, D.C. area. During this transition, Sycamore’s board of directors will lead the search for the organization’s next executive.
“In a time of intense polarization, Laura quickly built Sycamore into an influential and uniquely nonpartisan voice trusted by Tennesseans across the political spectrum,” said Board Chairman Ed Roberson. “Tennessee could not have asked for a better person to take on this role. We will miss her dearly.”
Since its founding in 2015, Sycamore has published over 150 pieces of policy research and analysis and built a large and growing audience of civically engaged Tennesseans from every corner of the state. The institute has informed numerous debates over issues that affect and connect health and prosperity in Tennessee: transportation, economic mobility, Medicaid, the state’s rainy day fund, unemployment insurance, criminal justice, medical debt, COVID-19, and more. Policymakers, journalists, advocates, nonprofits, and business and community leaders at the national, state, and local levels frequently turn to Sycamore for insight and unbiased analysis of data and evidence.
“Under Laura’s leadership, Sycamore has become Tennessee’s go-to source for rigorous, easy-to-follow, and politically-neutral policy information,” added Board Treasurer and Secretary Pamela Carter. “Our bipartisan staff and board offer Laura heartfelt thanks for her service and dedication. We wish her all the best.”
During her tenure, Berlind’s leadership and expertise have been recognized by state and national policy influencers ranging from the American Enterprise Institute’s Leadership Network to The Aspen Institute. Her entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to nonpartisanship were key drivers in Sycamore’s early success.
“The last six years have been an incredible journey,” said Berlind. “In the blink of an eye, Sycamore went from an ‘impossible’ idea to a promising startup to an essential part of Tennessee’s policy landscape. I am extremely proud of Sycamore’s reputation as an honest broker of reliable data and analysis. With the staff’s extraordinary talent, the board’s dedication, and the steady backing of our supporters, the future is bright for both Sycamore and our great state of Tennessee.”
The Sycamore Institute exists to help policymakers, the media, and the public understand complex issues that affect and connect Tennesseans’ health and prosperity. Sycamore takes a neutral and objective approach to providing information, analysis, and opportunities for learning and discussion. As an independent, nonpartisan public policy research center with staff from across the political spectrum, we provide accessible, reliable data and research in pursuit of sound, sustainable policies that improve the lives of all Tennesseans.