La-Verna J. Fountain serves as the Vice President for Strategic Communications and Construction Business Initiatives at Columbia University within the Facilities and Operations Department. In this senior management role, she reports to the Executive Vice President for Facilities and Operations and leads communications efforts regarding construction business opportunities while also managing the University's long-term commitments and obligations agreed to under the Declaration of Covenants with Empire State Development.
To meet many of the obligations under the Declaration, Fountain designed, implemented and manages several programs benefiting community members. She is responsible for the University's Construction Supplier Diversity program and managing the University's Minority Women and Local Advisory Council. She also oversees the internal and external communications initiatives for Facilities and Operations for nearly 2,000 employees and more than 30,000 students.
Since joining Columbia in 2006, La-Verna has received numerous city, state and national awards for her efforts in communications and business development. She was a columnist for Harlem Community News and Women-Connect, a quarterly women's magazine, served as a co-host on the radio program, Urbanology on WHCR 93.7 FM focusing on MWBE services and served as the Chairperson of New York City's Construction Mentorship Advisory Panel under Mayor Bloomberg.
A long-time member of the national and community service movement, La-Verna served as the Director of former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford's Pennsylvania office. While with Senator Wofford, La-Verna 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.
Fountain has a Master's Degree in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia and serves as an instructor with the Columbia University School of Continuing Education where she teaches Introduction to Negotiation. She is a proud U.S. Army Veteran and has authored numerous publications including a book entitled The Alphabets of Life: A Simple Guide to Simply Living.