Executive Director of My Brother’s Keeper Boston, and Deputy Director, Mayor’s Office on Public Safety
Conan Harris, the Deputy Director for the Mayor’s Office of Public Safety, was appointed Director of My Brother’s Keeper Boston in August 2016. Mayor Walsh decided to accept the community challenge from former President Barack Obama two years prior. In spearheading My Brother’s Keeper Boston, Conan is tasked with working among Boston’s communities and organizations to achieve the City’s selected milestones in order to create genuine pathways to success for young boys and men of color.
Conan’s accomplishments with “MBK Boston 2.0” include initiating a data-based strategic planning process, establishing a charter, and recruiting a community based Advisory Board. To support college and career readiness he has worked with school-based organizations and other groups to prepare black and brown boys and young men to become leaders. He has taken youth to the White House and the African-American Smithsonian Museum to build cultural competencies and has engaged them in solution-oriented sessions. MBK Boston collaborated with the Summer Jobs Program resulting in 11,000 work placements and piloted a job placement and career exploration program with City of Boston Departments called the “Professional Pathways” program. To strengthen a collective action through grassroots efforts, he has established a mini-grant program for those working to improve outcomes for young men and boys of color in high-risk neighborhoods.
As Deputy Director of Public Safety, Conan played a leadership role in establishing Boston’s first ever Office of Returning Citizens, working with the formerly incarcerated to design the vision, programs and services of the new office. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new space, located in the Seaport’s Design and Innovation district, was held October 2017. It was widely celebrated across the city of Boston.
Prior to working with Mayor Walsh, Conan worked for The Boston Foundation on their violence prevention and intervention strategy as a Manager for StreetSafe Boston. Under his leadership, he oversaw a 95% increase of justice-involved youth and men engaged and enrolled in program services. He has consulted nationally and internationally on various violence prevention and intervention strategies, and on youth development programming. Conan speaks publicly at Universities, foundations, and leading nonprofits about issues facing young boys and men of color, CORI laws, re-entry issues, and the Prison Industrial Complex. It is Conan’s own personal experience having been justice-involved as a youth is what drives his dedication to create authentic pathways and opportunities for disenfranchised communities.
Conan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Boston University. He is married to wife Ayanna and has one daughter, Cora who has given him “the best title he has ever had and that is Father”.