We’re incredibly excited to announce that Sebastian Johnson joined Think of Us in October as Vice President of the Center for Lived Experience (CLE), our multidisciplinary team aimed at integrating the power of lived experience into research, policy, government affairs, and community building.
Prior to joining Think of Us, Sebastian held the role of Vice President of External Affairs at Arnold Ventures (AV), where he managed relationships with policymakers and other stakeholders. He also oversaw a portfolio of grants seeking to drive criminal justice reform. Beyond his tenure at AV, Sebastian left his mark as a consultant, strategically planning and researching for major philanthropic organizations. Additionally, his fellowship at The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) honed in on the use of fines and fees at the state and local level, reflecting his unwavering commitment to systemic change.
A graduate of both Georgetown University and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Sebastian’s professional journey started in the classroom as a Teach for America corps member in Lawrence, MA. His time teaching third-grade math and social studies solidified his understanding of the need for reform across a range of sectors.
“Teaching was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life,” Johnson noted. “The lessons I learned from the brilliant young people in my classroom, seeing them thrive and face challenges not of their own making with resiliency, drove home for me that system transformation is necessary for individual transformation. My policy work since then has been about showing up for those kids and many others who need organizations like Think of Us to remove barriers to their potential.”
Sebastian’s writing on topics such as criminal justice reform and universal basic income have been featured in many publications, including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Detroit Free Press.