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Mavis Laing to Retire as Executive Director of IMPACT Leadership Development Program June 30

Mavis Laing will retire as Executive Director of the Chicago Urban League’s IMPACT Leadership Development Program, effective June 30, 2024.

IMPACT is one of the city’s premier leadership development programs and focuses on providing up-and-coming Black professionals with the tools and skills needed to thrive in increasingly responsible leadership roles. Mavis has led the program since it launched in 2014.

“It is hard to imagine IMPACT without Mavis. She has been integral to the success of the program,” noted Karen Freeman-Wilson, President & CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “IMPACT has produced notable leaders who have made significant contributions in Chicagoland and throughout the country over the last decade.”

Mavis Laing
Vice President and Executive Director, IMPACT Leadership Development Program

The program was established by former Chicago Urban League President & CEO Andrea Zopp at a time when no other leadership programs in Chicago were addressing the needs of Black professionals. Each year, a cohort of 30 – 45 leaders from corporation, government and non-profit organizations go through the intensive 9-month program. Classes are taught by professors at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which is the program’s academic partner.

“Mavis Laing has been the heart and soul of IMPACT since we launched the program in 2014,” said George Wu, the John P. and Lillian A. Gould Professor of Behavioral Science at Chicago Booth. “IMPACT has made Chicago a better city, and that’s true largely because of Mavis’ vision and commitment. I consider her a dear friend and have been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with her the past 10 years.”

Laing announced her retirement to current IMPACT fellows, alumni, mentors, and program supporters earlier today.

“Leading IMPACT over the last ten years has been a remarkable experience. I have found great joy watching so many talented emerging Black leaders accomplish so much,” she said. “We now have over 300 IMPACT Alumni who are serving in prominent roles across all sectors, securing promotions and supporting our communities in nonprofit board leadership positions.”

Laing added, “I look forward to seeing how the program will continue to strengthen the pipeline for diverse leadership across our city for many years to come.”

Laing’s planned retirement date coincides with the completion of IMPACT’s current program year. The 2024 cohort will graduate in May. In the meantime, the Chicago Urban League will launch a search for the program’s next executive director.

“While we know Mavis’ shoes will be hard to fill, we are confident that the opportunity to lead a well-respected leadership program will be attractive to many dynamic individuals,” Freeman-Wilson said.