Urban League announces Class 30 of African American Leadership Development Program

A collection of senior-level African American leaders from a variety of professional backgrounds have been selected to take part in a prestigious leadership development program led by the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio.

Class 30 of the African American Leadership Development Program features 21 Black professionals representing the business, healthcare, nonprofit and government sectors. Members of the cohort will spend 10 months completing an immersive and experiential curriculum designed to enhance their leadership skills and position them for future success within their organizations. That includes taking part in a series of interactive sessions led by expert facilitators. 

Overall coursework aims to provide an overview of Cincinnati’s cultural history, power and influence, government, advocacy and economics through the framework of Black history and perspective.

The group plans to meet for all-day meetings on the first Friday of the month through June. Graduation will take place Friday, June 28.

Past graduates of the Urban League's African American Leadership Development Program.
Past graduates of the Urban League’s African American Leadership Development Program

“AALDP provides an opportunity for African American leaders to connect and grow with one another in powerful ways,” said Christie Kuhns, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio and a graduate of Class 29. “So many of Cincinnati’s prominent African American leaders are graduates of AALDP. I believe that speaks to the enduring power and legacy of this program.”

The Urban League helps Black people and others in historically underserved communities through programs ranging from economic development efforts and job training to social justice initiatives.

Much of the focus is on developing individual workplace skills, but they also work as a group to identify and address issues affecting the local Black community. A goal of the program is to develop a network of African American leaders to enhance opportunities for Black people across Greater Cincinnati.

There have been nearly 1,000 graduates in the program’s nearly three-decade history.

Applications for Class 31 will open next spring.

AALDP Class 30

  • Salimah Abdul-Hakim, Soleil Kitchen
  • Barbara Bell, staff for U.S. Rep. Greg Landsman 
  • D’arrell Brown, Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio
  • Tai Collins, University of Cincinnati
  • Maria Cunningham Hill, Hillman Group
  • Akiva Freeman, The Kroger Co.
  • Lindzie Gunnels, 3CDC/Gunnels Realty
  • Rickell Howard Smith, YWCA Greater Cincinnati
  • Alexandria Merriweather-Turner, Central State University
  • Janice Miller, Council on Aging 
  • Nick Mockabee, The Kroger Co.
  • Ayanna Morgan, Cradle Cincinnati
  • Toilynn O’Neal Turner, Robert O’Neal Multicultural Arts Center
  • DeShawn Raimey, Western & Southern Financial Group
  • Robert Sanders, Sanders Development Group
  • Ryane Sickles, University of Cincinnati
  • Devona Stripling, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Marcus Thompson, Triversity Construction
  • Janaya Trotter Bratton, Hamilton County Municipal Court
  • Chantal Weaver, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  • Donald Young, Secure & Protect

Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio


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