Who We Are
Our Communities, Our Plans, Our Stories (OCOPOS)
OCOPOS was founded with a single purpose: to create a company whose sole mission and line of work is to support residents and small businesses in tackling systemic social and racial inequities by integrating concrete diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) tactics into community planning and development initiatives.
We are solely unique in this offering – no other planning entity in the country merges comprehensive community planning, equitable development, advocacy, social, health and racial equity assessments with innovative economic justice models, emergent software, and full spectrum planning and design services with expert partners.
Collectively, with our integrated partners, the OCOPOS team has over 120 years of experience in community-based planning and includes the core capacities of our previous work as architects, policy analysts, planners (comprehensive community development), urban designers, sustainability and energy efficiency specialists, not for profit affordable housing development, commercial, industrial and mixed use developers, and health equity consultants.
Shai J Lauros
Shai Lauros, Principal and Managing Director, OCOPOS, leads the firm’s strategy and development, and serves as the managing director of community development, social impact, housing and planning activities. Previously, as National Health Program Director at LISC National (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), Shai oversaw the health and community development initiatives of the organization, spanning national efforts and local work with over 30 cities and rural counties across 44 states. Shai's previous consulting and advisory work spanned strategic planning, development and policy initiatives with a focus on sustainability and equity to create local and regional economic generators and healthy environments. This work includes the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Invest Health initiative with The Reinvestment Fund and Bennett Midland, as well as several sustainable community development projects in New York.
Previously, as Director of Community Development at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation (CHLDC), a 600 person agency with 22 offices across Cypress Hills and East New York, Shai oversaw the sustainable real estate development of affordable housing, community facilities, commercial and manufacturing space; the property and asset management of CHLDC's 31 building portfolio; and Cypress Hills Verde, the neighborhood-wide sustainability initiative spanning sustainable economic development, neighborhood planning and programming - including the public health initiatives of food access and wellness, urban agriculture, healthy homes and community energy efficiency projects - with a focus on M/WBEs, local labor and supplies, workforce development, supportive services and integrated school and educational programs.
Before joining CHLDC in 2012, Shai served as the Executive Director of GreenHomeNYC, worked for the Regional Catastrophic Planning Team overseeing program management and development of the $22 million regional initiative to plan and prepare across sectors in CT-PA-NY&NJ, and worked as an affordable housing developer, planner and architect at various NYC-based firms. Shai holds a Msc. RUP (Regional and Urban Planning) from the London School of Economics and Political Science, MArch (Architecture) from Columbia University, and a BA degree from Barnard College/Columbia University.
Adiyah Ali, DEIJ Chief Strategist, OCOPOS, is passionate about driving systems change to create more inclusive communities, un-designing inequities wherever they exist, and dismantling systemic and structural racism. Through her work with OCOPOS, she uses a diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) lens to provide consultancy to communities seeking to advance racial equity and economic self-determination. Adiyah has over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit, for profit, and philanthropic sectors, with a focus on anti-racism education, resource development, program management, community engagement, and advocacy.
Adiyah's work at M + R encompasses the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice of the firm as the Senior Vice President of Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion. She leads the internal initiatives and strategies to support this work. Previously, at at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Adiyah lead the organization's anti-racism journey, which included embedding DEIJ in LISC's operations, policies, practices, and programs. In her Senior Development Officer role there, she cultivated relationships with major foundation and corporate donors to expand private resources for LISC’s national programs and local offices.
Prior to those roles, Adiyah managed LISC Washington, DC’s development and communication efforts, as well as its racial equity strategies. She also provided communications consultancy to the Social Innovation Fund, coordinated research and advocacy at Kids in Need of Defense, (KIND) and oversaw, directed, and led Amnesty International's community organizing in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. Adiyah has a BA in International Relations from Roanoke College and a MPP from Pepperdine University, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership at USC’s Rossier School of Education.
Senchel has managed numerous community development and planning projects that strongly focused on innovative program design, collective impact and inclusive community redevelopment. She has experience in regional planning, social enterprise development, mental health services, and community engagement. Senchel's work has focused on the South and includes data management and evaluation systems for people-centered, place-based comprehensive community development.
DEIJ Community Engagement
Brittany approaches community engagement from her multifaceted experience in community development, community safety, and health equity. She has worked with diverse communities in her roles with community-based organizations and the public sector to address social justice and equity for communities impacted by disinvestment.
Affordable and Public Housing
Rasmia's expertise spans urban governance policy, housing policy, community engagement and collective impact initiatives. She focuses on movement building, governance design and narrative development in public housing transformation, and is currently facilitating a resident-centered Working Group that will release a collective response to the impact of COVID-19 on public housing residents in New York City