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Updated: August 7, 2020 / 2020 40 Under Forty Honorees

Laura Settlemyer


Laura Settlemyer

Age: 36

Company: Hartford Land Bank

Title: Executive Director

No. of months with current company: 6

Town where I live: Hartford

Town where I work: Hartford

College: Harvard University

Highest degree: Law degree

Laura Settlemyer is an attorney and the founding executive director of the Hartford Land Bank. Settlemyer was Hartford’s first director of blight remediation and led a 15-person team that spurred the transformation of hundreds of vacant, blighted properties, working with homeowners, residents and nonprofits.

Settlemyer has worked with communities nationally, including Detroit and New Orleans, to help troubled properties become neighborhood assets and to overhaul systems and policies to create equitable opportunities for city residents.

What’s been your biggest professional accomplishment so far in your career?

I led the passage of two laws in our state in 2019: the Land Bank Enabling Act and Abandoned & Blighted Property Receivership Act.

How are you involved in the community?

I serve on the board of my local neighborhood association and Hartford NEXT, the umbrella organization for all neighborhood associations. I also serve as a commissioner on the Housing Authority of the city of Hartford and as chair of the Connecticut Vibrant Communities Coalition.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Outside of work I like to spend time with friends and family. I like to practice yoga and get outdoors. I am currently training to run a marathon. I love sports and cannot wait for the Yard Goats and Hartford Athletic games to resume!

What part of work life did you miss most during the pandemic?

I have missed interacting with people. My success relies on community engagement and community input. I have missed going to meetings and seeing people. I worry the ‘new normal’ is not giving our most vulnerable residents an opportunity to be heard.

Four reasons why you deserve to be a 40 Under Forty:

Founded the Hartford Land Bank, Connecticut’s first land bank, to redevelop vacant, distressed properties and enhance neighborhood quality of life.

Overhauled the city’s Anti-Blight Ordinance, developing a property maintenance code and creating an equitable code enforcement system.

Led passage of two new state laws: Land Bank Enabling Act and Abandoned & Blighted Property Receivership Act.

National expert on reclaiming vacant, abandoned, deteriorating and foreclosed properties.

Fun Fact

I once officiated a wedding in New Orleans wearing a crawfish costume.

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