Laura Gillen

Board Member

Laura Gillen was the first woman elected (not appointed) Town of Hempstead Supervisor and the first member of her party elected in more than a century. During her tenure as Supervisor of the nation’s largest town, Ms. Gillen prepared and administered a budget of approximately $500M and managed the operations of all town departments. She spearheaded initiatives to modernize the physical and IT infrastructure of the town and to address affordable housing needs. Her administration applied for and received several grants, including a $10M NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant. Ms. Gillen was recognized for instituting tight fiscal controls and passed the town’s first multiyear capital spending plan. She also created town’s first sustainability panel and oversaw many environmental initiatives, including reestablishing the town’s water testing lab, expanding its shellfish hatchery and creating living barrier reefs to prevent erosion and protect waterways. A former litigator, she commenced litigation to recover costs and damages associated with emerging contaminants in the public water supply. Ms. Gillen passed critical legislation relating to transparency, sexual harassment, veterans benefits and ethics reform. She keenly rooted out potential corruption resulting in multiple federal and local investigations.

Ms. Gillen’s desire to serve her community began long before her election. She volunteered in her youth at South Nassau Communities Hospital and Camp Anchor. Her interest in public service ripened while a student at Georgetown University, where she concentrated her studies in government. At Georgetown, Ms. Gillen was honored with the distinction of being selected to be a George Baker Scholar. Her participation in the Baker Scholar program impacted the direction of her life profoundly with its lessons of leadership and community service. After graduating cum laude from Georgetown in 1991, Ms. Gillen returned to New York to study at Stella Adler Studio. She later became an agent for a leading speakers bureau. During these years, Ms. Gillen was also a GMHC volunteer, assisting persons living with HIV/AIDS. 

In 1995 through 1996, Ms. Gillen embarked on transformational visits to destinations in China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and India. The focal point of her travel was an extended volunteer mission in Calcutta with the Missionaries of Charity, where she worked in Mother Teresa’s home for the dying. 

Ms. Gillen returned to Georgetown for law studies by night, while interning for Hon. Marian Blank Horn of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims by day. In 1998, Ms. Gillen transferred to New York University’s School of Law. While at NYU, she worked at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP and was invited to join the firm as a litigation associate after earning her JD in 2000. At Cahill, Ms. Gillen worked on matters involving securities regulation, defamation, employment and intellectual property. Ms. Gillen also participated in the firm’s pro bono program, assisting victims of domestic violence. Shortly after her second child and a move back to Long Island, Ms. Gillen joined the Westerman Ball law firm where she practiced commercial litigation. She appeared in state and federal courts, representing clients in cases involving intellectual property, employment law, unfair competition, contractual disputes, fraud, real estate disputes, corporate governance disputes and other business torts. 

Ms. Gillen resides in Rockville Centre with her family and is a PADI-certified divemaster.

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