African American Leadership Initiative

Diversity is a hot topic in today's society. Even here in Richland County, many businesses, boards, schools, social groups, and other organizations are spearheading efforts to increase their diversity and become more inclusive. Moreover, study after study has highlighted the social, intellectual, and economic benefits of diversity both in the workplace and in society as a whole. As a result of this, we've decided to launch AALI, the African American Leadership Initiative.

AALI is a new initiative brought to you by the North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Inc. (NECIC). NECIC is an asset-based community economic development corporation. In serving Mansfield's diverse population, we realized that many of the assets of the African American community were unrecognized. It is our goal, through AALI, to recognize and connect those assets, encourage leadership development, and support residents in building a network that will ensure success.

AALI's Mission

The mission of AALI is to identify and cultivate African American leaders in Mansfield and Richland County. AALI functions to create a network of diverse leaders with relevant opportunities to connect and contribute.


How are African Americans doing in our community?



AALI Social

AALI Social is a monthly gathering for the purpose of networking and establishing connections. If you are interested in enjoying the company of like-minded individuals over refreshments, this event is for you!

Join us on the final Friday of every month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The location will be NECIC, 134 N Main St. Tickets are required for AALI Social, however every event is free. However, we appreciate and highly encourage donations.

Get tickets for AALI Social July 26: Meet Stan Jefferson

AALI Speaks

AALI Speaks is a speaker series that provides a platform for inspiring African American speakers to share insightful and thought-provoking experiences and stories. A great way to inspire leadership and cultivate people's assets is to expose them to high-achieving individuals.

AALI Speaks is free to members. Admission for non-members is $10 per person per event. Seats are limited, so make sure to get your tickets early! Tickets are required for every event.

Get tickets for AALI Speaks with Nyshia Brooks on July 8, sponsored by Richland Source

Do you have a speaker in mind that you would like to hear at AALI Speaks? Feel free to recommend him or her by clicking the button below.

Suggest a speaker

The AALI Journey

The AALI Journey, arguably the most valuable component of the entire AALI program, is a leadership development series for African Americans that will be held at NECIC. Each session will be from 9am till noon. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. The first segment of the AALI Journey, "Discovering The Leader Within" will consist of three parts.


1. Finding Your Voice Amidst The Changing Demands of Leadership. (April 26)

2. Leaders: Are They Made Or Born? Do They Inspire or Impact? (May 17)

3. How Are Identities Reflected in Leadership? (June 21)


We all know the old saying that "you are the company you keep." To that end, another benefit of the AALI Journey is that African Americans will gain the opportunity to develop a deep professional and personal network of like-minded individuals that also want to become leaders in their communities.

We know that many African Americans want to become leaders and have the internal assets to do so, even though so many people tell themselves that they're not leadership material. With this program, we will help them recognize and use these assets to their fullest potential.

If you have been waiting to cultivate the leader within you, then the AALI Journey is right for you. Click the button below to register today!

Register for the AALI Journey

AALI Membership and Support

With the affordable AALI membership, not only do you become a member of an exclusive network of emerging leaders, you get free entry to our monthly AALI Speaks events, as well as a 10% discount on the AALI Journey.

We want to recognize the first 50 people that sign up to become AALI members as inaugural members of AALI. As a result, membership fees for the first 50 AALI members will be only $60 per year. For every other AALI member, membership will be $120 per year.

Make sure to sign up quickly if you want to be one of the inaugural members of the first African American leadership program in Richland County!

You can also become an AALI supporter!

When you become an AALI supporter, your community support is shared with the public (unless you request to remain anonymous) through branding and marketing.

There are various opportunities to support AALI, such as sponsoring a membership or an event. In-kind donations are also welcome (and much appreciated!).

Please click the button in the table below to find out more.

Questions? Contact Leona Smith at 419-522-1611, extension 114.


Become an AALI Member

Become an AALI Supporter

Develop self-awareness and sharpen abilities through strengths-based approach

Invest in creating an environment that focuses on inclusivity 
Adaptive leadership training through lecture and experiential activities

Showcase commitment to the importance of professional development

 Broaden personal and professional networksEquip employees with tools and confidence to display leadership qualities
 Increase understanding of community landscape

Ensure continuous pipeline of quality leaders reflective of our diverse community

                              Become a Member                                 Support AALI


Thank you to our AALI Supporters!


  Become a Gold AALI Supporter! 

                                                                                                                                                        Image result for first energy

  Become a Silver AALI Supporter!

Richland Source

  Become a Bronze AALI Supporter

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