LA Sanitation and Environment (LASAN) is working to address disparities throughout a large workforce that is diverse both racially and in its working responsibilities and environments. Various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated inequities across LASAN’s 3,200 employees, while also helping to raise awareness around these challenges. LASAN seeks to create a more equitable employee experience and to enhance employee engagement opportunities. The FUSE Executive Fellow will help LASAN to further develop the plans, tools, and insights needed to measure and advance its employee engagement levels.

Fellowship Dates: July 22, 2024 – July 21, 2025

Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. This amount is not representative of market-rate salaries for the experienced professionals in our program but is intended as compensation for a year of public service.


FUSE is a national nonprofit that increases the effectiveness of local governments to build more equitable communities. We embed private sector executives in city and county agencies to lead projects that narrow racial disparities, improve public services, and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 400 projects in 58 governments across 26 states, impacting a total population equivalent to 1 in 10 Americans.

When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and can effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.

Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. They receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE throughout their fellowships to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.


LA Sanitation and Environment (LASAN) mobilizes 3,200 staff to serve 4 million Angelenos with waste management, including trash collection, wastewater management, and watershed protection. In addition, LASAN’s Livability team provides services to persons experiencing homelessness, including mobile hygiene and encampment cleaning. The large organization includes service-delivery groups such as Water Reclamation, Clean Water, Technical Services, and Solid Resources, as well as internal innovation and support groups including Special Projects, External Affairs, Financial and Administrative Services.

In addition to making Los Angeles a cleaner, more sustainable place, LASAN staff can build a civil service career and advance from entry-level roles to senior leadership. Unfortunately, the career ladder is perceived to be inequitable, according to a recent cultural assessment performed by UCLA’s Anderson School in conjunction with the City’s Personnel Department.

Telework is also inequitable. Operations staff (i.e., those working in the field or staffing operations in LASAN plants and facilities) have little or no opportunities to work from home. During COVID-19, operations staff worked overtime due to staffing shortages, while administrative staff was largely remote with fixed schedules.

In addition to telework, some opportunities for employee development may elude operational staff who may be unavailable to attend “lunch and learn” opportunities, participate in soft-skills training, or receive mentoring due to an operational impact if they were to attend during their regularly scheduled shifts.

Driven by these equity issues, LASAN aims to improve its employee engagement, make employees feel more appreciated, create innovative opportunities for all staff categories, and encourage more workers to pursue promotions and long-term advancement within the organization.

LASAN will partner with FUSE to develop a practical approach to employee engagement across all of its work sectors. The FUSE Executive Fellow will develop a baseline for measuring engagement across all employee types and create a toolkit and milestone plan to advance and measure engagement over the next ten years. As a result of this work, it is planned that LASAN will be a better, more equitable place to grow a career, resulting in improved job satisfaction, employee retention, and recruitment. The resulting workforce will benefit all Angelinos for whom LASAN provides service.


The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.

Starting in July 2024, the Executive Fellow will forge relationships with LASAN leadership, management, and frontline workers (particularly BIPOC frontline workers across all organizational groups), as well as the Chief Equity Officer, external affairs, and labor organizations representing LASAN workers. The Executive Fellow will gain an understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges LASAN has when engaging each working group and employee type. In addition, the Executive Fellow will conduct research to understand best practices for equitable, effective employee engagement in large, diverse organizations similar to LASAN.

Next, the Executive Fellow will develop and measure the baseline for employee engagement. This measurement cannot be one-size-fits-all. Instead, it should thoughtfully capture engagement across the three main employee types (field staff, office staff, and engineers) and be tailored to specific groups (e.g., solid resources vs. water reclamation). Given LASAN’s equity goals, the baseline data should also capture differences in race, gender, and educational attainment.

In addition, the Executive Fellow will create a milestone plan with concrete actions LASAN can take to improve engagement over the next ten years. This plan should include incremental and long-term changes to improve equity outcomes that can be scaled over time. Additionally, the plan should contain anticipated reviews to ensure that it continues to serve its intended purpose, throughout changes during the ten-year timeframe covered by the plan.

Finally, the Executive Fellow will create a toolkit for LASAN to measure changes in employee engagement over time. The toolkit should allow LASAN leadership to measure progress compared to the baseline measurement, evaluate the effectiveness of various programs and policies, and make data-driven decisions as they implement the milestone plan.

By July 2025, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:

  • Conduct a Listening Tour – Build relationships with stakeholders in LASAN to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that will shape the approach to employee engagement. Conduct a best practices literature review.
  • Measure the Baseline – Compile data to measure current levels of employee engagement, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, tailor measurements to various organizational groups and employee types.
  • Develop a Milestone Plan – Create a ten-year plan of concrete, scalable steps for LASAN to advance equitable employee engagement for all staff.
  • Create a Toolkit – Equip LASAN with tools to measure changes in employee engagement over time and adjust the implementation of the milestone plan based on the data.
  • Create a Bi-annual Evaluation Tool/Plan to ensure the Employee Engagement Plan is still serving its intended purpose. Identify a methodology to include any changes or modifications that may be needed to ensure effectiveness in a changing environment.


  • Executive Sponsor – Nicole Bernson, Assistant Director for External Affairs and Special Projects; LA Sanitation and Environment
  • Project Supervisor – Niesha Louis, Government and Legislative Affairs, Engagement, and Special Projects; LA Sanitation and Environment


In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in equity, organizational structure, and corporate culture change is strongly preferred for this project.

  • Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
  • Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
  • Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
  • Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
  • Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing and excels in both active listening and conversing.
  • Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision-making.
  • Establishes and maintains strong relationships with diverse stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, particularly community-based relationships.
  • Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
  • Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.

FUSE is an equal-opportunity employer with diversity, equity, and inclusion core values. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.