NECIC Founds African American Leadership Initiative

NECIC Founds African American Leadership Initiative

  • 1/9/2019 1:15:49 PM
  • Jenna Ramolt
  • Local News

MANSFIELD, OH - The North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Inc. (NECIC) has announced the founding of the African American Leadership Initiative (AALI).

The mission of this new initiative is to identify and cultivate local African American leaders through regular networking events, monthly speakers for professional development, and a leadership development program called "AALI Journey."

“We hope to accomplish two things with AALI,” said NECIC Executive Director Deanna West-Torrence. “One is to create a support network within the African American community itself that is going to help people move forward economically, educationally, and within the community. The other is to connect the African American community to other initiatives that may help them go further, whether it’s in entrepreneurship, education, employment, training, or the like. We’ve always seen ourselves as a convener. We take that role seriously in this endeavor as well, organizing the assets, convening them, and developing new leadership so it gets to the core of what we are about.”

West-Torrence said the initiative is funded by the Richland County Foundation.

NECIC Executive Coordinator Leona Smith said, “There has not been significant African American participation in the other networking events in the area. That’s for a number of reasons... Mostly, it’s comfort. With AALI Social, people can catch up with old friends, meet new people, and make each other aware of relevant opportunities. It’s also a safe place for African Americans to discuss their experiences and problem solve.”

The first AALI Social event will be held on January 25, 2019. AALI Speaks will be a monthly professional development luncheon featuring a variety of speakers, the first of which will be held on February 11th, 2019. 

“We will offer dynamic African American speakers to serve as a model to others in the community, to share their success, their stories, and to inspire attendees,” said Smith. “It’s also a way to showcase those African Americans that have been successful in their own right, and to share their valid experiences.” 

There is an application process for the AALI Journey, said Smith, and the program is three modules focusing on aspects of leadership and leadership development.

Tickets for both events can be purchased online, but are free to members. More information is available at Those interested may also contact Leona Smith at [email protected] or 419-522-1611, extension 114. 

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