Laura Bernas

Laura Bernas

Project Coordinator


Laura Bernas is a project coordinator whose work is driven by a passion for creating systems in which all peoples have access to liberation. Laura is particularly skilled at working with public agency staff to connect, grow, and strengthen advocacy and action coalition networks through a humanistic and person-centered lens. Laura is also highly skilled in strategic visioning and planning, creative communications and engagement, connecting disparate people and ideas, arts non-profit creation, and organizational management. In addition to supporting clients in project management and organizational change, Laura also has deep experience in working with multi-sector planning and deliverables, creating training and education materials, providing technical resource assistance, organizing and creating resources, and managing internal organizational systems. Laura is also a practicing performing artist whose work focuses on theater for community development, opera, musical theater, and dance. Laura is particularly interested in the service user/ex-service user/survivor movement and the growing fields of trauma research and interpersonal neurobiology, in addition to overall disability advocacy.

Prior to joining HSRI, Laura was a programs director at Kinship Senior Center, where her work addressed creating fulfilling, dynamic, and community-oriented engagement for the elder population of New Orleans. Simultaneously, Laura worked as a Community Advisory Board Member for No Dream Deferred’s inaugural We Will Dream: New Works Festival, where their work addressed the development of a BIPOC led, and BIPOC playwright focused, 3-month long, national theater festival. Laura also worked as a teaching artist for early-childhood music and theater in the New Orleans community and public school system. Prior to that, Laura worked as a devised theater maker on projects related to politics and American history, immigration, conservation and ecology, and American identity. Laura has volunteered at Green Light New Orleans and America Talks.

When not at work, Laura enjoys reading, travel, hiking, being in nature, playing board games, making art, playing music, and spending time with her cats and loved ones.


  • MFA in Professional Acting from The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
  • Vagus Nerve Program Graduate (Neurophysiology of Chronic and Traumatic Stress)
  • Certificate in Acting from the National Theatre Institute-Moscow Art Theatre School Program
  • Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts (focus in Performing Arts, Russian Language & Literature, & Psychology & Cognition) from Sarah Lawrence College

Recent Projects

  • The Grassroots Project
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