Celebrating Black Leaders Past, Present, and Future
In 1915, historian and author Carter Woodson formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) at the Wabash Avenue YMCA, right here in Chicagoland. The ASNLH created Negro History and Literature Week, which would eventually be renamed and expanded to what we now know as Black History Month.
During Black History Month and year-round, we at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago honor Woodson’s legacy by uplifting the work, voices, and contributions of Black leaders past, present, and future.
For Dorri McWhorter, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, the precedent Woodson set over a century ago is personal. As the first Black person and woman to hold this role in our Association’s history, McWhorter is driven to make sure she won’t be the last.
Putting this mindset into practice, McWhorter recently participated in Black Women Leading the Podcast, Lessons from the C-Suite with Dorri McWhorter. She shares how both “heart work” and “head work” have been integrated into her leadership approach across various industries and roles throughout her career. McWhorter gives a behind-the-scenes look at her day-to-day responsibilities as a CEO and shares her approach and inspiration for creating and communicating the vision and strategy she sets for her organization.
“At its core, the Y is about connecting people to their purpose and potential,” McWhorter said. “It is significant, then, that Black History Month, a joyful celebration of Black luminaries leading lives of purpose, has its roots at the Y. By educating one another on our past and finding positive examples in today’s leaders, we’re inspiring future generations to find their passions and make history in their own way.”
Throughout the month, we’ll be highlighting the ways members of our Y community—from the young learners in our Out of School Time programs to the purpose-driven people who lead our work throughout Chicagoland—observe Black History Month while actively investing in Black futures.