Kou Thao

Advisory Team(s)
Minnesota Bush Prize Selection Panel

Kou Thao leads across multiple sectors in his work to advance equity and social change. He has over 12 years of experience working with diverse communities, including immigrants/refugees, people of color and LGBTQ. He has worked across sectors, including philanthropy, non-profit management, crisis counseling, research, and youth development. Kou is currently authoring a book on historical trauma & radical healing.

Kou works with non-profits, government, academic institutions and foundations to assess and understand systems of oppression and diversity both within and outside of the workplace, and to craft strategies to co-create new ways of thinking and working towards equity. His leadership coaching focuses on empowering people of color and/or LGBTQ individuals with strategies to harness their inherent resilience and power to bring their full and best selves into the workplace and the world.

Prior to his consulting work, Kou served for 5 years as Director of Programs of a $10 million non-profit, driving national policy work, research, and capacity building programs for non-profit organizations across the country.

Kou holds an M.S. in Psychology from St. Joseph's University and an M.A. and completion of all doctoral coursework in Social Welfare from the University of Chicago. He has been nationally recognized by Vice President Biden as an LGBTQ emerging leader. Kou is also a 2013 Bush Foundation Fellow, a 2014 White House Champion of Change, named 2016 Young Professional of the Year by the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, and is a 2017 Aspen Institute Scholar.