2024 Alumni Awards Profiles

Nora Mann ’80Nora Mann ’80

Reunion: 45th
Residence: Arlington, Massachusetts
Grinnell major: Theatre
Other degrees: JD from Albany Law School (1987)
Profession: Semi-retired lawyer and community activist

3 ways Nora embodies Grinnell College’s mission of lifetime learning and service

  1. During her 20 years working in state government as a policy and program leader, Nora focused on serving marginalized and underserved communities, addressing structural inequities, and deploying programs that address key issues such as housing, employment discrimination, workplace violence, and economic injustice.
  2. As an assistant attorney for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Nora managed a team of attorneys and support staff regulating the charitable nonprofit sector. The largest charitable nonprofits were the hospital systems and when an opportunity opened up to focus her legal and regulatory expertise there, Nora moved over to the Department of Public Health where she was responsible for the development and implementation of a new regulatory framework for hospital and health care expansion.
  3. Working for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Nora managed a monthly series of Opioid Task forces, bringing together stakeholders throughout 51 cities and towns to think strategically about how to save lives.

Something you probably didn’t know about Nora

Nora has worked on voter protection efforts during the presidential campaigns of John Kerry, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden. During the 2022 midterms, she managed voter protection in several key states that did not have their own robust programs.

A collage of photos featuring Nora Mann ’80

Bonus Nora Fun Facts

  • Nora volunteers as a witness and advocate for those who are arrested at protests, assuring that they are treated fairly and safely.
  • From 2011 to 2019, she served on the board of On the Rise, a women’s day shelter working with people who had fallen through the cracks in the systems supposedly designed to help. She then joined Food Link, an organization committed to food rescue – first as a volunteer, then as a board member, and eventually as board chair.
  • In retirement, Nora uses her legal experience to support election law cases. She worked on basic trial discovery with the Fair Fight campaign in Georgia.

A quote about Nora

“Nora is constantly learning and growing as times change, becoming more aware of the value of amplifying the voices of the marginalized and not imposing her own values – tough lessons for one steeped in government policy, as she points out. She actively seeks out communities that are not like her own to bring their voices back. In her free time, she runs with two groups of largely younger people of color, based in the neighborhoods of Boston, and tries to listen and absorb what they say, so that she can be more effective and, perhaps, bring that wisdom born of the folks with lived experience, back to direct and inform her social justice efforts.”

Susan Henken ’80

Read more 2024 Alumni Award Recipient profiles.