We are the architects of our future and we can create the future we want to see. Join Yodit as she leads us through a community visioning to help us build a more equitable world, starting in our own backyards.
Yodit Mesfin Johnson became NEW’s President and CEO on January 1, 2020. She stewards the organization’s bold vision, strategic direction and overall operations in partnership with our Board of Trustees and staff. Before joining NEW, Yodit led a statewide initiative for women who are entrepreneurs, focusing on strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing access to trusted guidance and capital in Michigan’s under-resourced communities.
Having joined NEW in 2008 as a governance consultant, Yodit has one of the longest careers with our organization ever, later going on to serve as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Strategy from 2016 to 2019. In that capacity Yodit was instrumental in diversifying and growing NEW’s revenue, strengthening partnerships and programming— including a first-of-its-kind fellowship for leaders of color and white allies striving towards equitable outcomes for people in Washtenaw County—and strengthening the organization’s overall effectiveness.
Yodit is also actively involved in our communities in a number of ways. She proudly serves as Chair of the United Way of Washtenaw County board and as a Board Member for We The People Opportunity Center. She is an alumnus of the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship and recipient of the 2019 Peace and Justice Honoree awards, given by the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice. For her beloved son, Yodit founded Black Men Read, a community literacy initiative that creates teaching and learning opportunities for Washtenaw County’s children, centered in stories of the African diaspora orated by African American men. She and her family reside in Ypsilanti, where she spends what little free time she has consulting public, private, nonprofit, community-based and educational institutions on strategies that create high-performing organizational cultures that ensure that all people feel valued, are treated fairly and are able to work together productively towards common good.
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