Sarah Catherine Walker is a government affairs and public relations professional with MZA + Co. Prior to becoming a full time government affairs professional she spent seven years as the Chief Operating Officer at 180 Degrees, Inc. During her time at 180 Degrees, Inc. she founded the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition. Sarah is a graduate of Carleton College and is currently completing her doctorate in the Department of Sociology at University of Minnesota. Prior to entering the Department of Sociology, Sarah completed three years of doctoral work in the University of Minnesota Department of Political Science where she studied interest groups, social movements, and media framing of unpopular political issues. She brings extensive research experience to issues of politics, inequality, criminal justice reform and the role of philanthropic organizations in setting interest group agendas.
Her previous positions include as Research Consultant at the Council on Crime and Justice, Director of Workforce Development at the Center for Court Innovation, Executive Director of the Youth Justice Funding Collaborative, and Interim Research Director at the Council on Crime and Justice. Sarah also serves as a board member of the William Mitchell Reentry Clinic Advisory Board, St. Paul African American Leadership Council and Twin Cities Rise. Sarah is currently a member of the Minnesota DFL State Central Committee and is a past member of the Minnesota Supreme Court’s Racial Fairness Committee. In 2010, Governor Pawlenty appointed Sarah to theCouncil on Black Minnesotans and, in 2011, Governor Dayton appointed her to Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission. In January of 2011, Sarah accepted the Presidency of the Coalition for Impartial Justice and is leading efforts to ensure a fair and impartial judiciary in Minnesota.
Sarah’s public policy work has received many accolades. She was the recipient of the 2010 Minnesota Council of Non-Profits Statewide Advocacy Award; 2010 Hennepin County Bar Association Advancing Justice Award; and 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014 winner of the Politics in Minnesota’s Leaders in Public Policy Award. Most recently she was named to 2016 40 under 40 by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.