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The Forum Announces Pathway Forward In Creating Transformative Solutions

[Minneapolis, May 22, 2023] African American Leadership Forum CEO Adair Mosley announced today, the hiring of three distinguished women who will lead the newly created Innovation and Design team at The Forum. The three visionaries comprising this new unit at AALF will lead the organization’s transformative work in creating design policy and tangible solutions to systemic inequities. 

“The Black-led brilliance provided by these three Black women will contribute mightily to The Forum and our community, to radically imagine a thriving future for Black Minnesotans. I’m humbled they want to share their talents with us to lead us to that end,” Adair said in welcoming the trio onboard.

Gabrielle Grier, as AALF’s recently hired Chief Innovation Officer, will lead the new unit. An accomplished change strategist, she will prioritize the expansion of intentional partnerships, discourse through convenings, and community engagement initiatives that will utilize creative strategies, in her new responsibilities.

She joins AALF following a successful tenure as Managing Director at Juxtaposition Arts, a North Minneapolis nonprofit youth art and design education center. In addition to her 5 years at “JXTA”, Gabrielle brings a wealth of already established relationships to her new role. As a former competitive gymnast and coach, Gabrielle implements routine discipline as a method to consistency, foundational to long-term sustainability.

 “As someone who has spent a lot of time thinking about the intersection of creativity and intentional design strategy, I am honored to sit alongside my colleague Adair and support The Forum in its next evolution. I’m genuinely excited about it!” Gabrielle said.

Gabrielle has a Master of Education degree from the University of Minnesota in Youth Development & Leadership. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the UMN, in Fine and Studio Arts, as well as a Certificate from Boston College in Corporate Citizenship & Measurement Sustainability. Prior to her arrival at AALF, the solutions-building capacity of the organization had largely been outsourced. Her Innovation and Design unit now ensures this component of the work will be homegrown. 

Joining Gabrielle are two Design Strategists, who will round out the Innovation and  Design team. Karen Bauer is a recent PhD anthropology graduate from the University of Minnesota. Karen also has her master’s in anthropology from the UMN, along with a bachelor’s degree from Beloit College, where she double majored in anthropology and English literature, minoring in Spanish. Welcome aboard Karen!

Jessica Thompson is a PhD candidate in Higher Education at the University of Minnesota where she also completed her undergraduate degree in Youth Studies. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan. Prior to AALF, Jessica founded the consulting firm Designing for Equity. Her company utilized equity-centered design to create improvements for excluded student populations. Welcome aboard Jessica!

Please join us in welcoming these three dynamic women, Gabrielle, Karen and Jessica, to the African American Leadership Forum. You can read their full bios here at the AALF website.  

Media Contact:

Marc Watts

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