Alicia D. Polak

City of Oakland Planning & Building Department
Oakland, CA

ALICIA D. POLAK has 15 years of experience driving operations and building and scaling organizations, with a focus on meeting business objectives while addressing such issues as societal change, employability, and sustainable development. She specializes in change and project management, marketing, organizational development, supply chain, and logistics, and has worked for Merrill Lynch and BlackRock. She also teaches social entrepreneurship at The Wharton School, founded Kreate Advisors to advance social entrepreneurship, and founded The Khayelitsha Cookie Co., one of South Africa’s longest, continuously running social enterprises. A Fulbright Scholar, Alicia received a B.A. in journalism from New York University, an MBA from the University of Cape Town, and an MPA and MBA from the New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.



To aid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oakland Department of Planning and Building seeks to prioritize safety and affordable housing simultaneously by improving technology for building inspections and code enforcement. To support this work, FUSE Executive Fellow Alicia Polak Brennan is assessing how the department’s land-use management system can be modified to improve code enforcement workflows, case management, and data record keeping.