Title: Vice President Policy and Strategic Initiatives
Current / Past Place of Employment: Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio
How many years have you been in the region? 9 years. I was born in Columbus, Ohio but moved to Cincinnati in elementary school. I went away to college and came back in 2012
Ashlee Young is committed to serving the community and lives by the words of Marian Wright Edelman “Service is the rent we pay for living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.”
Ashlee lives by those words in her professional and personal life. Ashlee is Vice President of Policy and Strategic Initiatives at the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio (ULGSO). In this role, she leads the development and execution of ULGSO’s policy and advocacy framework which focuses on systemic and equitable policy change. She also works with partners to further accelerate the growth of ULGSO and address emerging community needs. Ashlee brings over 10 years of experience in public health, nonprofit, government, and philanthropy. She holds a Master of Public Health with a concentration in health behavior/health promotion and health education from Wright State University, and a bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University.
Her commitment to service and passion for people can not only be seen in her professional career but also in her personal life. Ashlee serves her community through various leadership roles. She currently serves on the board at MORTAR, Delta Gateway Foundation, and Design Impact. In 2021, she was reappointed to the Hamilton County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board where she serves on the finance committee. Ashlee is a 2020 recipient of the Cincinnati Business Courier “40 under 40” award. She has been recognized by the National Society for Public Health Educators, YWCA Rising Stars, and recipient of the Journey Award from the Urban League and the Bright Award from Cincinnati Herald. She is also a proud member of the Cincinnati Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Queen City (OH) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. She enjoys volunteering with these and other organizations in her community but her favorite thing to do is spend time with her daughter Nila.
What are your personal core values? The following are my personal core values that shape how I live my life and have been instilled in my daughter. Honesty, empathy, passion, integrity, friendship, dependability, and fun.
In what ways are you involved in the Cincinnati community outside of your professional endeavors? I am very involved in my community and believe it is my responsibility to give back. I am involved in the following activities in my community:
Board Member and Immediate Past President of the Board of Design Impact
Treasurer, Delta Gateway Foundation
Member of Cincinnati Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Cincinnati
Member of Queen City (OH) Links, Incorporated
Board member (Secretary), MORTAR
Board Member, Hamilton County Mental Health & Recovery Services
Looking at your professional career, outside of family and friends, where have you garnered your support? In 2011 and 2012 I lost my parents, had a young child, and gained custody of my brother. It was through these experiences my faith grew stronger. I garner my support through my faith. One of my favorite scriptures is Psalms 23:1 (NIV), The Lord is my shepherd and I lack nothing. I draw my strength by knowing God will provide and is ordering my steps.
What legacy do you hope to leave behind? The legacy I want to leave behind is one of service and commitment to the Black community. I want people to know I work tirelessly to ensure that Black people can live freely in this world.
How do you define success? Success is doing what you love, making a difference, and living life to the fullest
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader? To grow and develop as a leader I continue to invest in myself and my community. I can’t be the best version of myself if I am not taking time to rest and reflect. This is something I am trying to get better at but know this will be the key to my continued development. My investment in my community with my time, talent, and treasure allows me to be surrounded by people who are smarter and are in different phases of their life than me. I am always inspired by the wisdom of my elders and the energetic spirit of youth. By doing this I am able to learn and become better through these experiences.
What piece of advice have you received along the way in your career or life journey that has stuck with you? The importance of asking for what you deserve and want. Often times as women and especially as Black women we underestimate our worth and value. The advice that has stuck with me is the importance of having a mindset of I deserve and I am are worth it.
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