When she ran the Washington, D.C., office of the American Civil Liberties Union, Laura Murphy maintained relationships with people on all sides of polarizing issues. “You go into these diverse offices, and Laura was greeted like a friend, a colleague, and partner, whether it was Maxine Waters or Rand Paul or Mitch McConnell,” says Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU. “That’s her secret power.”
Murphy spent most of her career navigating politics and policy, but recently she’s taken her talent to the corporate world, moderating conflicts between companies and advocates who criticize their impact on racial and social justice. She’s emerged as a pioneer of the corporate civil rights audit, a new tool for getting companies to confront their role in perpetuating racial disparities.