From Influence to Power: Public Service Leadership Diversity Forum

Co-sponsored by RCLA and the National Urban Fellows
NYU Kimmel Center, 9th Floor, 60 Washington Square South, New York City

Though growing in population, people of color remain underrepresented in public service leadership, an issue that can and must be resolved if we are to effectively change our nation’s most pressing social issues—from education to health, environment and justice. Our country is now composed of one-third, or 34 percent, people of color—a population that the US Census estimates will grow to 54 percent by 2042.

However, only 16 percent of federal government leadership positions are held by people of color, and on the state level, only 15 percent of statewide elective executive positions are held by people of color. Moreover, only 18 percent of nonprofit leadership positions are filled by people of color, and only 17 percent of foundation executives are people of color.

When current disparities in public service leadership are addressed, the public service sector will have greater ability and appeal to people of color with the leadership skills to solve social policy dilemmas. The participation of people of color and the infusion of diverse voices and experiences into decision-making processes ensure a sense of cultural competency and effectiveness within policy-based solutions to social issues.

This dialogue focused on diverse leadership in public service. At the event, we released two new reports, Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion: Insights from Scholarship and Advancing Diversity in Public Service: A Review of Leadership Development Programs in the US.

The event also marked the announcement of NUF's new Public Service Leadership Diversity Initiative, a nationwide campaign for an inclusive paradigm of public service leadership.