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Dr. Beverly Mitchell-Brooks is Honored for 20 Years of Service with the Urban League of Greater Dallas

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Story By Michelle London Bell and Photos by Brandi Richard

Urban League CEO & President Dr. Beverly Mitchell-Brooks was honored and recognized by members of the organization and community-at-large on Monday, November 15, 2010.  The reception, held at new and improved Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Central Texas headquarters on Lancaster Road, served to recognize Dr. Brooks for her 20 years of servant leadership with the Urban League.  It was a complete surprise to the guest of honor.

Urban Leagure Greater Dallas“[This has been] the hardest evening of my life – trying to get her back into the building,” joked Deborah Cohen, MC of the event as well as Director of Marketing and Business Development with the Urban League.  The evening opened with a lavish buffet and refreshments outside the reception hall, as guests mingled until Dr. Brooks’ arrival.

Seifu Yigezu, Chief Operating Officer, kicked off the program with an introductory tribute to Brooks. “Dr. Brooks is an outstanding role model, a great community leader, an effective CEO,” Yigezu said.  “She is an empowering leader – but leaves you to be accountable for the results, and challenges her staff to think outside the box.  She is a strong, compassionate leader – in 20 years, she has transformed the lives of thousands of people on a yearly basis,” Yigezu emphasized.

Following Mr. Yigezu’s beaming tribute, a fellow Board member and distinguished public figure, Dr. Wright Lassiter (Chancellor of Dallas County Community College District) further acknowledged Dr. Brooks’ record of commitment and vision over the years, as well her care for those around her.  He articulated the history of the Urban League of Greater Dallas, his involvement and the story of how Dr. Brooks took on her role as President.

Dr. Lassiter explained how he took his first Board appointment in 1984 with the Urban League – having worked closely with Roosevelt Johnson until his retirement in 1990, which opened up an opportunity for new leadership.  After commissioning a search committee to find someone qualified enough to fill Johnson’s shoes – the Board selected Dr. Brooks, the visionary.

“Dr. Brooks and I immediately aligned [with the desire] to relocate from a small strip center to Main Street, which was a major coup for Beverly,” stated Lassiter.  “[Her] next vision — Beverly moved again– and as moves were made, [she] garnered greater visibility for Urban League’s accomplishments and impact.”

Dr. Lassiter outlined for the audience how Brooks was “never satisfied” – which was the platform for further expansion to turn an old, abandoned Minyard supermarket on Lancaster Road (donated by Liz Minyard) to a modern, state-of-the-art office facility and training site next door.  “The facility, through a partnership with DCCCD, is to fulfill President Obama’s plight to endeavor to have everyone who desires to be gainfully employed with a skill set [in demand].”  The audience erupted with applause as Dr. Lassiter announced Brooks’ next anticipated endeavor.  “This community has been tremendously blessed [with] a young lady from South Dallas who decided to cast her lot with this organization.”

Dr. Lassiter then presented Dr. Brooks with a thoughtful gift in honor of her years of service as an Adjunct Professor at El Centro College.  Following the gift presentation, Ms. Cohen invited family members and other close friends of Dr. Brooks to make special remarks about how she has individually touched each of their lives.  The most interesting was a personal “roast” from one of Dr. Brooks’ dear friends of thirty years, Diane “Miss Community” Gibson – further acknowledging how Dr. Brooks exemplifies the epitome of “servant leader.”

Dr. Brooks was truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of emotion and acknowledgements from her colleagues.  The many accolades and special presentations demonstrate the caliber of leadership Dr. Brooks brought to the Urban League and will continue for many more years to come.

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