CEO & Founder, The Lazu Group (The Urban Labs)
Malia Lazu, an award winning, tenured strategist in diversity & inclusion has sparked deep economic development and investment in urban entrepreneurship for over twenty years. In her most recent role as EVP and Regional President at Berkshire Bank, Malia worked to generate wealth for communities by expanding access to capital and spurring economic growth —especially in communities of color that have traditionally been left behind.
During her time at Berkshire, Malia evolved the $13 billion bank’s strategic focus beyond traditional community banking services to prioritize tangible community impact. She helped to diversify the board of directors; developed a suite of financial products and programs that support entrepreneurs of color; and launched ReevX Labs, a collaborative workspace and innovation hub for the urban start-up community.
A serial entrepreneur in her own right, Malia has created and led a number of socially responsible business accelerators across Boston. She worked with the city to create Accelerate Boston which helped launch over twenty minority businesses in its first five years and continues to help minority entrepreneurs raise capital. She was also the founder and President of the Future Boston Alliance, now known as Epicenter, which built an ecosystem of creators, consumers and investors to develop businesses in the creative industries. As a fellow at MIT’s Community Innovator’s Lab, she launched The Urban Labs, a multicultural agency helping brands see returns on diversity.
50 Founders to Watch in 2017
Women Who Mean Business in 2019
100 Most Infuencial Bostonians
Mill Cities Community Investment
Malia began her career as a political organizer and bridge-builder founding Mass VOTE, a state-wide voter engagement campaign. She has led culture-shifting campaigns for the actor and civil rights activist Harry Belefonte, as well as businessmen and philanthropists like Peter Lewis and George Soros.
Malia currently sits on the boards of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, Revolutionary Spaces, Chica Project, Artist Asylum and the Nation Magazine Editorial Board. She was named one of Essence Magazine’s 50 founders to watch in 2017 and Boston Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business in 2019.