Director of Communications
Leah Lau is the Director of Communications for the Youth Policy Institute, leading the marketing, editorial, publishing, media, PR and photography for the agency. She is a creative visionary with far-reaching professional experience as an Editor and Marketing Communications expert in fields as diverse as Fortune 500 companies, corporate philanthropy, nonprofits, and government. Her life’s work is dedicated to making the world more positive and equitable: For more than 20 years, she has been spearheading community advocacy at the local, national and international levels, with a focus on education, the arts, and health care.
Prior to joining YPI in 2016, Leah was at the Charles Schwab Foundation, and Charles Schwab & Co., Inc, for 11 years, serving in roles as an Editor; Senior Manager, Marketing Strategy & Communications; and Senior Program Manager. She has extensive expertise in leading national marketing campaigns; was the lead Editor for Schwab’s Chief Investment Strategist; was the Editor for the syndicated column by the Charles Schwab Foundation President; and served as a features editor for On Investing magazine, which has a distribution of 2.6 million clients. At the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development within San Francisco City Hall, Leah led the marketing and outreach to launch the Minority Business Opportunity Committee, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
With her lifelong dedication to philanthropic work and the arts, Leah has immersed in her communities locally, nationally, and internationally. She founded the Cambodian Children's Book Project benefiting the ELMA School in Sambour, Cambodia, building up their library collection and global roster of volunteers from 2008 – 2010. She was a Board Member for the UCSF Alliance Health Project from 2005 – 2012, where she also served in leadership roles for Art for AIDS, the largest charity art auction in San Francisco, as the Art Installation Chair, a Juror, a Planning Committee Member, and a contributing artist. Leah was honored to be an Official Photographer for the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015; was a Photographer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America from 2011 – 2016, including for their annual report; and was a Photographer for Daraja Academy, a girls’ school, near Nanyuki, Kenya. In her native San Francisco, Leah had a series of solo photography exhibits from 1998 – 2004, and exhibited her fine art photography in group shows from 2002 – 2012.
Leah attended the University of Chicago and UC Berkeley with a major in English Language & Literature, a minor in Spanish, and concentrations in Art History, Political Science, Gender Studies, and Latin American Studies. She loves to learn new languages and also speaks conversational Italian, French, and Mandarin Chinese. An avid traveler, Leah spent a decade doing a series of solo international expeditions to wilderness at the edges of the earth, exploring all seven continents. She fulfilled a lifelong dream by completing a round-the-world trip in 45 days in 2013.