Robert Sowell

Robert is the Assistant Executive Director of the LA County Commission on Human Relations and Program Manager for the Human Relations Branch of the Los Angeles County Workforce Development, Aging, and Community Services Department. In this role, he provides administrative oversight to the Branch’s staff and operations. He also helps to lead planning and implementation of countywide equity initiatives and is a member of the Department of Public Health’s Office of Violence Prevention’s countywide leadership team. Previously his primary responsibility was coordination of a department-wide Culture Transformation Initiative to significantly improve leadership, trust, and productivity. He also is an experienced mediator and dialogue facilitator. Prior to his current position, Robert served as a member of the Leadership Team of the department’s Human Relations Branch, and supervised staff working on improving the equity and fairness of criminal justice systems in LA County. He also directed coordination of the county’s Dispute Resolution Program and supervised the Branch’s initiative addressing the needs and treatment of commercially sexually exploited minors. Before becoming a manager, he served with the Branch’s Schools Team and as a member of the Hate Crime Report Team. He continues to develop and deliver customized training with all kinds of groups, including public safety professionals, community interventionists, housing managers, government workers, young adults, and human services volunteers. His trainings cover a variety of topics, including cultural competence, diversity, prejudice (including implicit bias), conflict management, mediation, communication, peacebuilding, leadership, and collaboration. Robert’s prior experience includes working as a child neglect and abuse investigator with the county’s Department of Children and Family Services. He has earned graduate degrees in social work and in education, and completed post-graduate work in public and urban affairs. In addition to his work with the county, Robert is an adjunct undergraduate sociology professor.