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Cynthia Mitchell Heard takes helm at Los Angeles Urban League


Second woman to lead organization

The Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) has appointed Cynthia Mitchell Heard as its new President and CEO effective Jan. 1, 2024. Heard will become the first woman to assume this leadership role since Katherine Barr, the LAUL’s President in the late 1920s until 1931, and she is charged to advance the work and legacy of the civil rights and service organization whose mission is to imporve the lives of its members and Los Angeles overall for more than a century.

“I am deeply honored and grateful for the trust placed in me with this appointment to president and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League. I am committed to upholding the legacies of remarkable leaders like Katherine Barr, John Mack, and Ambassador Michael Lawson,” Heard said. “With unwavering dedication, I will strive to build upon their accomplishments and lead the organization to new heights. Thank you for this incredible opportunity.”

Heard’s appointment is an elevation from her role as the organization’s chief operating officer. She brings more than 30 years of experience working in non-profit organizations, including previous executive-level leadership roles at the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles and Children Uniting Nations. Heard is an alumna of the University of Southern California and earned her Master’s Degree in Education from Howard University.

Heard is recognized as a strategic and visionary leader, with strengths in organizational and program development, innovative fundraising solutions, fiscal management, and the implementation of effective processes and systems. She also is known for her collaborative leadership style, which includes mentoring and motivating others to be their best.

Elliot Hinds, chair of the LAUL Board of Directors, expressed his enthusiasm for Heard’s appointment. “Cynthia Mitchell Heard’s visionary leadership and deep understanding of community needs mark a new era for the Los Angeles Urban League,” said Hinds. “We chose her to propel our organization into a future that richly connects black and other underrepresented Angelenos to the vast and exciting opportunities that exist in our vibrant city.”

“I am thrilled that the Los Angeles Urban League has selected Cynthia Heard as the President & CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League. I know that the Los Angeles Urban League will grow and thrive under her leadership and her vision. It has been an honor to serve our community under the vision of John Mack,” said Michael A. Lawson, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League. “I know that Cynthia will continue the legacy of John Mack and the Los Angeles Urban League Presidents and CEOs on whose shoulders we stand. Congratulations.”