After an extensive search, PSE finds its new VP of Strategy & Engagement

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Joel Alvarado is an Afro-Latino first-generation college graduate whose career is predicated on social + economic justice, equity, movement work, and transformational leadership. A well-respected government relations expert, he is now the Vice President of Strategy and Engagement with Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE), succeeding the legacy left by PSE’s long-time friend Dwayne Patterson. Joel will be instrumental in developing and implementing highly effective programmatic strategies that realize measurable impacts in our systems transformation efforts.

“I am honored and privileged to be a part of the PSE family. This is an incredible opportunity to intersect my passion with my profession. Working with a visionary leader like Nathaniel Smith and his incredible team to eradicate structural racism and push for racial equity in the Southeast is truly a blessing. I look forward to the challenge of being on the frontline with our allies to transform the region to where freedom, justice, opportunity, and equity become our collective reality,” said Alvarado.

“I look forward to the challenge of being on the frontline with our allies to transform the region to where freedom, justice, opportunity, and equity become our collective reality.”

Joel alvarado

Alvarado earned a B.A. in History at Morehouse College and an M.P.A. in Public Policy at Clark Atlanta University.  He is a doctoral student at the University of Alabama pursuing an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration. His research interests include first-generation students of color, community colleges, institutional culture and climate, and social capital. 

Professionally, Alvarado spent most of his career in the government sector lobbying for private, public, and nonprofit interests. Prior to PSE, he was Executive Vice President of External Affairs at Ohio River South, a top regional government relations firm. While there, Alvarado was instrumental in growing the organization by providing effective thought leadership and representation to a diverse portfolio including Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits, local governments, and political candidates. 

He also represented Gwinnett County at the State Capitol, served as Policy Director for the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential and was Policy Analyst/Lobbyist for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in the Southeast. As a public sector expert, Alvarado gained most of his government experience in DeKalb County, under two different administrations, where he was Senior Advisor to the CEO, Legislator Director, Executive Director for Community and International Affairs, and Director for Keep DeKalb Beautiful. He is also an experienced organizer and campaigner having served in 2018 and 2020 as State Director for Civic Engagement in Georgia on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to increase African American voter registration and turnout. 

Alvarado possesses an extensive background in postsecondary education having worked at a public two-year institution and a private historically black college and university (HBCU). With the former, at Georgia Piedmont Technical College he served as Director of Community Outreach and Engagement, Adjunct Instructor, and Interim Director of Marketing and Communications. At Clark Atlanta University, he was Assistant Director of the Southern Center for Studies in Public Policy, an African American policy think tank.  

Alvarado is a board member of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials Impact Fund, a member of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce government relations committee, and a member of the Latin American Association advocacy committee. He is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb, Leadership Atlanta, New Leaders Council, Regional Leadership Institute, The Coca Cola Diversity Leadership Academy, and other prestigious leadership development programs. 

As a thought leader and public intellectual, Alvarado has presented or written on Black-Brown relations, Anti-Blackness in Latino communities, and the Afro-Latino experience. He is also the co-host of Los Políticos, a podcast that offers a Latin perspective on Southern politics, policy, and government. 

He lives in Atlanta with his wife Dr. Karcheik Sims-Alvarado, and their son, Nation.