Lori James-Townes has over 30 years of clinical practice, leadership, and management experience. She is the principal owner of Expand-NOW, a consulting firm on organizational development and support, including leadership development, professional development, strategic planning, and team-building sessions. Lori is a nationally recognized leader with non-profit leadership experience. Currently, she serves as the Executive Director of a national membership organization that serves 30,000 members.
She previously served as Director of Social Work, Leadership, and Program Development at the Maryland Office of Public Defender which has more than 900 employees. While in this position, she demonstrated her ability to increase capacity in the following areas, teamwork, leadership, and management. She also led the agency’s social work staff, consultants, and interns. She has held teaching positions at Morgan State University, the University of Maryland School of Social Work, and most recently Towson University (Clinical Instructor).
Lori has developed programs that are now national models for other agencies. In 2015, The Daily Record Newspaper named her as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women. As a speaker, her presence is requested both nationally and internationally.
She currently holds and has held various leadership positions on both local and national organizations and Boards of Directors. She currently serves as President of the Alumni Board of Directors for the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Her leadership and commitment to growth have been rewarded as Lori’s appointments include serving as Conference Chair for several national conferences and training programs. Lori also serves as a faculty member at national and regional leadership development, trial skills, and/or training programs. Lori served as Commencement Speaker at the University of Maryland School of Social Work Commencement Ceremony (2021).
Lori earned her master’s degree in clinical social work (from the University of Maryland School of Social Work) and her B.A. in Social Work from Morgan State University. She has completed all her coursework for her doctorate degree in Public Health from Morgan State University. One of Lori’s favorite motivational quotes is by Maya Angelou: “The is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”