W h o W e A r e

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Laura Donald, Founder & CEO

Laura Donald has a passion for people and for justice. She is at her core a mom, consumed with empathy and sobbing at the sight of children scared and separated from their parents, or raging and indignant in conversations about the brutal racism of mass incarceration. 

Her career in social impact, education, and talent all converged when she founded Axis Talent Partners. Her purpose is clear: to advance justice by advancing people (specifically leaders of color who are working to make the world more just), and by partnering with organizations on the front lines of social change. It’s not just her tagline, it’s her personal mission. 

With over twenty years in the education and non-profit sectors, Laura is a trusted advisor and thought partner to both leaders exploring the next phase in their careers, or organizations looking to hire them. She has been a guidance counselor, a teacher, Education Director with The Children’s Aid Society, the first Program Director in NYC at Education Pioneers, and Director of Network Recruitment at Achievement First Charter Schools. A proud Bay Area native who has called New York her home for nearly 20 years.  Laura earned her BA from San Francisco State University and her graduate degree in Education from New York University. 



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Devyn Humphrey, Managing Partner

Devyn Humphrey started her career in the legal field as an attorney representing school boards in tenure dismissals and mediating special education disputes. Wanting to work more closely with families and communities, she joined the Achievement First (AF) charter school network where she served as Senior Director of External Affairs and Community Outreach leading the network's community outreach team, strategizing to optimize and scale processes to meet the network’s ambitious growth plans. After leaving AF, Devyn worked for the City of New York as part of the Department of Education and the Housing Authority. Devyn received her BA from Howard University and a JD from Cornell Law School.


Crystal Combs, Senior Consultant 

Crystal Combs has worked in and around education for more than two decades for organizations like Stand for Children, Bellwether Education Partners, and as an independent consultant to executive search, finding and placing extraordinary education leaders all over the country. She started her career an AmeriCorps VISTA for ReadBoston, working on implementing an adapted early literacy program in preschools in various neighborhoods in Boston. Crystal holds an MBA from ESADE Business School in Barcelona, a BA in Spanish Literature from UC Santa Cruz, and is fluent in Spanish.