La-Verna Fountain Recognized with Harlem Business Alliance "Woman of Action" Award

La-Verna Fountain, Vice President for Strategic Communications and Construction Business Initiatives at Facilities and Operations, next to her husband James and surrounded by colleagues when she received the Harlem Business Alliance "Woman of Action" award at a ceremony on May 3, 2017.

In recognition of a career spent taking action in large and small ways to make the world a better place, La-Verna Fountain was honored by the Harlem Business Alliance with its "Woman of Action" Award at the organization's 36th annual awards celebration on May 3, 2017.  Fountain is Vice President for Strategic Communications and Construction Business Initiatives at Columbia University Facilities and Operations.  Under her direction, Fountain has led the University's initiatives to expand opportunities for minority, women and local (MWL) businesses and construction workers to do business with Columbia.  These efforts include the recently launched CU Grow program, designed to help select MWL businesses that are currently university vendors to grow their business through a coaching program with a curriculum created by the Columbia University School of Professional Studies. The launch of CU Grow followed the conclusion of the multi-year, Columbia University/Corporate Alliance MWL Construction Trades Certificate Mentorship Program, in which 78 construction firms across four cohorts graduated from the program.

A long-time member of the national and community service movement, Fountain served as the Director of former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford's Pennsylvania office. While with Senator Wofford, she also founded several organizations dedicated to teaching others about nonviolence including the Teach Teens to Teach Teens Nonviolence Youth Institute, the Gandhi/King Peace Coalition and the Discover the Leader Within You Youth Group. Wofford, a co-founder of the Peace Corps and former head of the Corporation for National and Community Service once said, "La-Verna is like a walking Peace Corps in her attempts to bring peace to neighborhoods and communities throughout the country."

For the past 25 years, she has provided motivational speeches, training and facilitation on conflict resolution, cultural diversity, nonviolence as a way of life, working with teenagers, spirituality in the workplace and staff and organizational development.  Since joining Columbia in 2006, La-Verna has served on numerous boards and advisory councils, many of which have focused on expanding opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses and workers.