Higher Staff Transitions


Tucson, my new community

I wanted to let you all know that I will be leaving Higher to become the Program Director for Refugee Focus in Tucson, AZ. I’m excited to return to direct services for refugees and leave harsh winters behind. Today is actually my last day on the job. I drive toward Tucson this weekend.

Of course, Higher wouldn’t exist without the guidance and support of ORR and LIRS. Scanning the national landscape to identify the most helpful resources to make your jobs easier and refugee clients more successful has been the best part of the job, for me.

Higher is really by and for you.  That strong peer support is what has made Higher valuable and relevant for almost 20 years.  Thank you all for being so generous with your expertise, success stories and field-tested strategies.

Most of you already know Sarah Vail and Daniel Wilkinson.  If not, you can learn more about them on Higher‘s website. They will provide a seamless transition while LIRS recruits nationally for a replacement Program Manager.

Higher’s Third Annual Refugee Employment Workshop in Denver, 11/2-4, is really taking shape with strong peer leadership and national expertise. I can’t wait to hear all about it!

I’m very appreciative of how much I’ve learned from working with all of you in various ways. My personal email is lorelworknews@gmail.com.  I’m counting on peer support in my new role. You’ll be hearing from me again.



  1. Congratulations, Lorel! Thanks for your excellent work and leadership at Higher in providing incredible resources and innovative ideas for refugee employment staff across the country. Wishing you all the best in your new role, and I look forward to hearing about your work (and beautiful winters) in Tucson!

  2. Leon Shoats says:

    Lorel, congratulations on your new position back on the frontlines. Refugee Focus is getting an awesome leader. Best wishes for much success.

  3. Camille Rasmussen says:

    Welcome to the Refugee Focus family!!!!

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