Global nonprofit celebrates its first majority-female Board leadership, elevating its members and expanding its work championing opportunity youth around the world
Pictured left to right: Chair Michele Courton Brown;
Vice Chair Kathy Witsil; Assistant Treasurer Michael Gilligan;
Clerk Chi Kim; and new Board member Carla Reeves
YouthBuild USA has announced additions to its Board of Directors and changes to the body’s leadership slate. These transitions deepen the nonprofit’s work on behalf of opportunity youth — young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor employed — as they earn the knowledge, training and opportunities that lead to long-term professional and personal success. They create a diverse, majority-female Board leadership — a first in its history — and advance the organization’s commitment to its mission by better reflecting the population it serves.
Michele Courton Brown has been named Board chair after serving as a member for 16 years. She is the third Board chair in YouthBuild USA history, as well as the first woman and the first Black woman to lead the body.
Brown has over 30 years of executive leadership experience in large matrixed corporations and nonprofit organizations, along with deep nonprofit board governance expertise. She is vice president of business development for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) and managing director of BCBSMA’s strategic venture firm, Zaffre. In addition, Brown is an executive board member of Quality Interactions, where she served as CEO for six years. Former Board Chair Roy Priest will continue to serve YouthBuild USA as a Board member.
“I’m so honored to take the helm of the YouthBuild USA Board of Directors and grateful to have the incredible Roy Priest continue his service,” Brown said. “He has led us as chair for 18 years with heart and strength, and I look forward to continuing this legacy. I am so excited to take the torch as we deepen our efforts to champion opportunity youth around the world. We will continue to innovate in programming to help youth build skills and achieve economic security, supporting their capacity to become leaders in their communities and reclaim a sense of true belonging.”
In other Board leadership news, Kathy Witsil has been elevated to vice chair; Michael Gilligan has been elevated to assistant treasurer; and Chi Kim has been elevated to clerk.
In addition, Carla Reeves joins the Board as its newest member, bringing more than ten years of experience in employment law and litigation. She is a director at Goulston & Storrs, where her practice is focused on advising companies and organizations on employment matters; representing clients in state and federal litigation, administrative proceedings, and arbitration proceedings; and conducting investigations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other forms of workplace misconduct. A committed voice for justice, Reeves also develops and implements customized workplace trainings, cultural assessments, and equity reviews to support efforts to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace.
“I am honored to be a member of the YouthBuild USA Board of Directors and to have the opportunity to collaborate with this group of accomplished, mission-driven colleagues,” Reeves said. “Empowering young people with the skillsets and mindsets they need to flourish and thrive has never been more necessary. I am excited to help guide this work at such a crucial moment in history.”
In YouthBuild programs, opportunity youth pursue their education, prepare for future careers, and grow into community leaders, building brighter futures for themselves and their neighborhoods. With love and respect, YouthBuild partners with opportunity youth to build the skillsets and mindsets that lead to lifelong learning, livelihood and leadership. Responding to the urgent need for knowledge, training and opportunity, YouthBuild primarily serves young people who lack a high school diploma and financial resources.
YouthBuild USA is the nonprofit support center for a global network of more than 275 local YouthBuild programs in 18 countries, with 220 programs in 46 U.S. states and territories and 56 programs in 17 other countries.