Congresswoman’s husband leaves City Hall role, forms private firm
Conan Harris, the husband of Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and one of Mayor Martin Walsh’s senior public safety advisors in recent years, has left City Hall and launched his own consulting firm, Conan Harris & Associates. On Tuesday, College Bound Dorchester announced that Harris will join the organization as interim Senior Vice President of Policy and External Affairs.
Harris, who served as the city’s executive director of My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Boston, will remain active on the MBK board. His official role with the city ended on Jan. 11, he said.
Harris, a native of the Dudley Triangle in Dorchester, said it was important for him to “create a level of nimbleness” that will allow him to continue to work on his own “mission” while also supporting his wife’s career as a delegate to Congress.
“I needed a way to connect with her [in Washington, D.C.] when needed, but also continue to do the work that has been my life’s mission. This ended up being a perfect fit,” Harris said of his new role with College Bound Dorchester (CBD), which is based on Bowdoin Street.
Harris will focus much of his work on CBD’s Boston Uncornered initiative, which seeks to engage formerly gang involved youth that they call “core influencers” — young men, typically, who are often gang leaders.
“Like Uncornered students, there was a time in my life when I felt cornered,” says Harris. “I look forward to supporting Boston Uncornered in its work helping Core Influencers turn their lives around as I did.”
Mark Culliton, the CEO of College Bound Dorchester, says that Harris brings a wide network and years of experience to the CBD’s table.
“If we commit as a city- and we’re fortunate to have a mayor who sees this- we can have a gang free Boston in five years. Conan is deeply knowlegable and deeply committed to the young people we care about. He can help with our work in hopefully convincing some of the other leaders who might not have that belief.”
In his role in the Walsh administration, Harris helped to set up the city’s Office of Returning Citizens, working with formerly incarcerated men and women. A graduate of Boston University, he previously worked for the Boston Foundation’s StreetSafe Boston.