Los Angeles, California – December 7, 2023: The Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) proudly announces the appointment of Cynthia Mitchell-Heard as its new President and CEO effective January 2, 2024. Heard will become the first woman to assume this leadership role since Katherine Barr, the LAUL’s President in the late 1920s until 1931.

“I am deeply honored and grateful for the trust placed in me with this appointment to President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League. I am committed to upholding the legacies of remarkable leaders like Katherine Barr, John Mack, and Ambassador Michael Lawson,” said Cynthia Heard, Chief Operating Officer, Los Angeles Urban League. “With unwavering dedication, I will strive to build upon their accomplishments and lead the organization to new heights. Thank you for this incredible opportunity.”

Heard’s appointment is an elevation from her role as LAUL’s Chief Operating

Officer. She brings more than 30 years of experience working in non-profit organizations, including previous executive-level leadership roles at the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles and Children Uniting Nations. Heard is an alumna of the University of Southern California and earned her Master’s Degree in Education from Howard University.

Elliot Hinds, Chair of the LAUL Board of Directors, expressed his enthusiasm for Heard’s appointment. “Cynthia Mitchell Heard’s visionary leadership and deep understanding of community needs mark a new era for the Los Angeles Urban League,” said Hinds. “We chose her to propel our organization into a future that richly connects black and other underrepresented Angelenos to the vast and exciting opportunities that exist in our vibrant city.”

“I am thrilled that the Los Angeles Urban League has selected Cynthia Heard as the President & CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League. I know that the Los Angeles Urban League will grow and thrive under her leadership and her vision. It has been an honor to serve our community under the vision of John Mack,” said Ambassador Michael A. Lawson, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League. “I know that Cynthia will continue the legacy of John Mack and the Los Angeles Urban League Presidents and CEOs on whose shoulders we stand.”

“The LA Urban League extends heartfelt gratitude to Ambassador Michael A. Lawson, who will retire following his exemplary service as President and CEO of the organization since 2018,” said LAUL Vice Chair Keith Drake. “His leadership and dedication have been invaluable to the organization’s growth and success. He’s expressed his continuing commitment to support a smooth transition and we view that as further testament to his character.”

Cynthia Mitchell Heard’s appointment to the President and CEO position is expected to usher in an exciting time at the Los Angeles Urban League as the premier civil rights organization moves into its second century of service to the underserved community in Los Angeles.

Read the Press release on this breaking story from the Los Angeles Sentinel here.