Today, I am filled with a mixture of emotions: gratitude, pride, joy, and a sense of accomplishment. After six years of serving as the President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League, the time has come for me to pass the baton of this incredible organization, which has been a beacon light of compassion and positive change in Los Angeles, on to Cynthia Mitchell Heard, an amazing, capable and talented leader.

I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has contributed to our mission, especially over the last six years of my tenure. Because of your unwavering commitment, investments, tireless work, and bountiful generosity, we overcame a challenging period in our history as the premier community service organization in Los Angeles. We hope that our mission to rebuild the Los Angeles Urban League to the level of respect that it deserves as a highly respected and sustainable organization has made you, our constituents, proud. Together, we have transformed dreams into reality, turned challenges into opportunities, and impacted the lives of the underserved communities in Los Angeles.

I am immensely proud of the work that our staff, with the support of our board, have done for the benefit of our community through our programs such as our Construction Career Academy, where individuals are being trained and offered employment upon completing their classes; our Entrepreneurship Center, which is helping small businesses with grants, internships, and connections with major corporations that will help grow and sustain their businesses. Our robust advocacy activities have helped encourage stronger relationships between the diverse communities that make Los Angeles the jewel that it is and can become. I am also proud of our partners and donors who have invested in us through these difficult times with their generous support both financially and with their wisdom.

As I step down from my role as President and CEO, I am confident that the Los Angeles Urban League is in capable hands. Cynthia Mitchell Heard is a remarkable leader. She is smart, resourceful, recognized and a celebrated strategic and visionary leader, with strengths in organizational and programmatic development, innovative fundraising solutions, fiscal management, and the implementation of effective processes and systems. She is also known for her collaborative leadership style, which includes mentoring and motivating others to be their best. I know that Cynthia will continue the legacy of our legendary leader, John Mack and the Los Angeles Urban League Presidents and CEOs on whose shoulders we stand. The Los Angeles Urban League is in capable hands!

While these farewell remarks end my role at the President & CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League, it is the beginning of a brand-new chapter. I am looking forward to witnessing the continued growth and success of this seminal organization. My departure does not mean the end of my support for the Los Angeles Urban League and our incredible community. I will forever cherish the memories and I will continue to support the opportunity afforded me to discuss the importance of Re-Building Black Wall Street right here in our progressive city. I will continue to champion that cause and the call for reparation from wherever my life takes me.

I want to thank the Board, the Staff and the community for giving me the opportunity, honor and pleasure of serving as the President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League. Together we have made a difference in the lives of the communities that we have the honor to serve. I know that with the leadership of Cynthia Mitchell Heard and the support of her team and the LAUL board members, the Los Angeles Urban League will continue to thrive, blossom and make these dreams a reality.

Thank you.

Yours in the fight,

Ambassador Michael A. Lawson

President and CEO

Los Angeles Urban League