Meet the Team: Barbara Jessie Black

Meet Youth Mentoring Collaborative's Board Chair, Barbara Jessie-Black. Follow along with this interview between Barbara Jessie-Black and Hannah McKinney, Manager of Communications & Storytelling.


The Interview

Q. How did you first learn about the Youth Mentoring Collaborative? (HM)

A. "As a nonprofit practitioner, I had been following Atrayus' career for some time, 'running' into him at various events and chatting with him about possible partnership at some point and time. I was invited by Atrayus to join the inaugural Mentor NC board of directors." (BJB)


Q. Why is working with the YMC important to you? (HM)

A. "My personal 'why' for working with YMC is because I believe in the work of mentoring and the positive impact mentoring relationships can have on both the 'mentee' and 'mentor'. I also appreciate the forward thinking way in which YMC is approaching this work..centering racial equity and joy as mentoring relationships are built." (BJB)


Q. Which of YMC's values do you feel most personally aligned with? (HM)

A. "Relationships. Any work we are engaged in is based on relationships. Relationships are the cornerstone of any work that we do in the nonprofit sector and informs the success and effectiveness of our engagement with our communities. In my career as a nonprofit leader the relationships I have been privileged to create have been growth opportunities for me both personally and professionally. I look at each interaction with someone as an opportunity to build a relationship. Some relationships are deeper than others, but they all have come to me to help my growth so that the work I do in the community is affirming and positive." (BJB)


Q. What about YMC's mission, vision, and values excites you most? (HM)

A. "I appreciate the YMC team adding 'joy' to its values and mission. It is not often that 'joy' is lifted up as an active value. Often times it may be implied or assumed, which doesn't allow for external stakeholders to fully be engaged with it. The fact that YMC has found 'joy' important enough to include in their values and mission has the potential to change how stakeholders in the community view the work of mentoring...and that excites me! It's forward thinking." (BJB)


Q. What are your strengths as Board Chair? (HM)

A. "Organizational development, definitely. I have led a nonprofit organization for over eighteen years. I would also say board development; I have been on over twenty boards in the course of my career and have chaired several boards." (BJB)


Q. What's a fun fact about you? (HM)

A. "I got my first tattoo at age fifty-nine!" (BJB)


This concludes the interview. To learn more about Barbara Jessie-Black and the rest of the team, visit Our Team.