Urban League Twin Cities names new president, CEO

Urban League Twin Cities names new president, CEO

Urban League Twin Cities names new president, CEO

Urban League Twin Cities chose a new leader for the organization and she’s making history as its first female president and CEO.

Marquita Stephens has a strong background in the advocacy realm of education.

“I’m really excited about moving forward with the things that we can do collectively as a community,” Stephens said.

Stephens is stepping into the new role and making history as the first woman in 98 years to be the president and CEO at the Urban League Twin Cities.

“It’s really an honor and I take it very seriously,” Stephens said.

The Urban League provides resources for African descendants in the Twin Cities with opportunities in housing, education and wealth development.

“It’s emotional work. It’s hard work,” Stephens said. “You have to know what you believe. You have to know what you stand for.”

Stephens stands for education.

One of her big projects was creating “The Black Gems” program that prepares 9-12 grade students for college and a career. The program focuses on academic skill building with life-skill development and college culture awareness.

“Those are conversations that you have to have with them one on one and collectively in groups to help them to understand that they too can participate fully in those opportunities that they see before them,” she said.

Stephens explained more educational opportunities for teens could help reduce recent teen violence ranging from shootings to carjackings in the Twin Cities.

“They have to know that the options that we talk about are real for them. That they’re not just for other people, but those options exist for them,” she said.

In her new role, Stephens plans to make that message clear.

“Expect us to do more in the realm of education and I think you can expect us to do more in the realm of the workforce,” she said. “We’ve been here for 98 years and I expect us to be here for 98 more, serving and being an anchor in this community that we love.”

Stephens explained there are challenges with this line of work. She said funding is a big factor to make sure they can keep fulfilling these efforts.