Skip to main content

African American Leadership Forum CEO Announces His Departure

[MINNEAPOLIS – APRIL 26, 2022] –  “The idea that AALF could be the hub of development for the African American community inspired me,” said Owens. “I have enjoyed building the infrastructure and internal AALF team that will allow the community to determine its own path well into the future.”

During Owens’ tenure, the staff of AALF has grown from two to twelve members, funding for the organization has quadrupled, and AALF successfully launched the United By Black Powered by All initiative (formerly known as the Alliance of Alliances). Owens also helped stamp the Josie R. Johnson Leadership Academy (JRJLA) as one of the top leadership development programs in the Midwest.

The AALF Board has retained kpCompanies and Miquel McMoore to lead the search for its next CEO. In the interim, Shanaya Dungey, Vice President of Administration, and Marc Watts, Vice President of Communications and Narrative, will serve as interim Co-CEOs of AALF. The AALF Board is grateful and has confidence that Dungey and Watts are ready to step in.

“Marcus has done a wonderful job for AALF. Conferences such as ‘Leadership By Any Means Necessary,’ establishing a COVID hotline with Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, and aligning resources to implement United By Black Powered By All are just a few of his accomplishments that have positioned us for long-term success” said AALF Board Chair Kevin Lindsey.

On Thursday, AALF will be hosting a virtual panel discussion on community safety that will feature a distinguished panel of speakers that will be led by AALF’s Public Safety Scoping Team. Public Safety is one of the six pillars within the United By Black initiative and is consistent with AALF’s mission, of ideas coming from or being influenced by conversations within the African American community.

Owens continues to work hard on behalf of AALF and the African American community. Owens and Lindsey are interviewing candidates and planning to hire at least two additional staff members before Owens’ last day next week. Owens, the former Executive Director of Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON), is also serving on Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s Council on Economic Expansion.

“I appreciate the opportunity that I had to lead this amazing organization and I look forward to ways to continue supporting AALF’s work in the future,” Owens said in announcing his decision. “I feel good that I have done the work that I was brought here to do. Now is the time for me to move on and pass the ankh to the next leader who can continue to do the work.”

CONTACT: For media inquiries or to learn more: and

We’re Open To
press requests

We are always open to press enquiries, so please feel free to reach out. As thought leaders in racial equality and equity, we are available for media comments.

Contact Our Team