Laura Quebral is a planner, analyst, communications strategist, and fundraiser with deep experience in project management, grant writing, team construction, consensus building, and strategy and organizational development. She provides day-to-day leadership and management for UBRI as it engages in a range of highly visible projects in regional economic development and sustainability.
Laura is team leader and project manager in partnership with the WNY Regional Economic Development Council and Empire State Development, using her expertise to guide decision-making and support and lead major initiatives through strategic planning, problem solving and project implementation.
Most recently, she led the development of the Regional Revitalization Partnership (RRP), a $300 million collaborative, community-driven, targeted economic development investment strategy designed to build community wealth and leverage public/private co-investments to maximize impact. This holistic economic development strategy can demonstrate how New York State’s partnership with cities and private/philanthropic sectors can drive catalytic initiatives that help underserved communities and lay the foundation for inclusive recovery and growth. First implemented in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester, the strategy will serve as a pilot program that could be rolled out to other regions in New York State and has the potential to become an innovative national model for economic revitalization.
Laura is well-positioned to lead the implementation of this strategy having developed the Buffalo Billion Phase II plan, managed the local team in collaboration with national consultants during the development of the original Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan, and led the team responsible for the award-winning Western NY Regional Economic Development Council’s Strategic Plan. She continues to provide guidance in support of the Western NY Regional Economic Development Council, including formative roles in the Northland Workforce Training Center, Better Buffalo Fund and Workforce Development Challenge. Laura’s leadership within the economic development arena advanced to spearheading the East Side Corridor Economic Development Plan and East Side Avenues, a place-based economic growth initiative, in collaboration with several local foundations and corporations. East Side Avenues was the building block for RRP, and has been touted as a national model for community revitalization. Laura is also leading the support team for Open4, another WNY funder partnership focused on improving the regional small business ecosystem across the Buffalo and Rochester region.
She led the charge at UBRI on work with the University at Buffalo’s Business and Entrepreneurship Partnerships, completing a strategic planning process and developing steps toward UB’s new Innovation Hub. Taking lessons learned from UBRI’s role in WNY’s economic development efforts, Laura led the UBRI team with the research and expertise on strategy development and implementation necessary for the Upstate NY Revitalization Initiative.
Prior to joining UBRI, she served as Knowledge Management Officer at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and The John R. Oishei Foundation leading research and evaluation relevant to funding interests to enhance philanthropy both regionally and nationally, and providing informed context for decision making. Before that, Laura was Director of Planning and Strategic Initiatives at the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.
Laura holds bachelor’s degrees in both English and psychology from the University at Buffalo; and a master’s in urban planning, also from UB, where she won the award for best thesis for “Preserving Buffalo’s Olmsted Parks: Facing Challenges in Planning for Historic Park Landscapes.”