As director of people and culture, Lanell is responsible for shaping the organization’s core ethos and values, serving as both a strategic advisor and a cultural architect, and upholding the organization’s mission to transform educational equity and excellence. Extending beyond traditional HR functions, he leads the areas of talent acquisition and employee well-being, as well as diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB), driving initiatives in this area as well as executing key strategic projects.

Prior to Chiefs for Change, he honed his expertise through diverse roles in the education sector, working as a program manager at EdReports and an associate director of special projects at Aspire Public Schools in Memphis. His leadership at Aspire was marked by his ability to spearhead board and internal development efforts and manage a variety of partnerships and projects. Before that, he oversaw regional recruitment efforts for Education Pioneers, launched the CLOUD901 Learning Laboratory for the City of Memphis, and contributed to Talent Operations at TNTP.

Lanell holds a doctorate in educational leadership from East Tennessee State University, a master’s in education from Northeastern University, and a bachelor’s in management and organizational development from Bethel University.