RESH Celebrates its First RELISH Cohort Graduation

Categories: Network Events

RESH Celebrates its First RELISH Cohort Graduation image


On December 16th, the Racial Equity in Supportive Housing (RESH) Workgroup graduated its first class of participants in its Readying Emerging Leaders in Supportive Housing (RELISH) mentorship program.

RESH is a volunteer affinity group launched in 2020 to examine and implement tangible solutions to advance leadership and racial equity for NYS supportive housing stakeholders who identify as Black. RESH’s mission is to advocate for policies and practices that advance racial and wage equity and improve the quality of life for Black people connected to the supportive housing sector.

Launched on October 7th, the 24-week RELISH program was designed to provide emerging Black leaders in the nonprofit housing and homeless sector with a skillset in management, leadership, and networking to increase upward mobility within the workforce. Twenty-eight participants have successfully completed this unique and necessary program that is critical to moving up the ladder in the workforce. They participated in a graduation ceremony held at Silverman School of Social Work at Hunter College, where they were joined by their mentors and fellow supportive housing community members as they received their certificates.

During the graduation, Pascale Leone, the Network’s Executive Director, remarked “Thank you RESH for your critical investment in our workforce. We are ready for you. We have been ready for you. This space is immeasurable and is an investment in social capital.”

Network Associate Director of Advocacy, Tierra Labrada, who helped spearhead the program, also spoke, “We knew it was necessary and no one else was going to do this for us.”

Mark Jennings, member of RESH’s Steering Committee and soon to be Executive Director of Project FIND shared with the graduating class that the RELISH program was built on the things he wished were present for him as he moved from Program Director into executive leadership. “When I was coming through the ranks, there were many, many times I was the only African American face in executive meetings. This can be lonely, and your voice can get lost. In addition, most of my executive learning was trial by fire," he added "RELISH gives each cohort member a chance to think critically about the next steps in their journey. Scholars get executive learning and have the opportunity to build a network of professional peers to help collectively advance innovation in the sector."

“My experience with the RELISH Mentorship Program, to this point, has been enlightening and fulfilling. I appreciate the opportunity to have met other emerging leaders who worked in not for-profit organizations, serving an under-represented client population. The biweekly seminars offer opportunities to discuss career challenges and achievements, and to share my aspirations toward future career growth. The seminars have felt authentic and refreshing. In addition, I obtained a wealth of knowledge about building and leading a not-for-profit organization,” said Erica Parker-Jackson, BRC and RELISH Scholar.

“While we are flooded with online gurus promising everything, nothing impacts more than personal exposure and mentorship. This is what RELISH provided for me and my dynamic cohort,” said Jacqueline C. Holland, RELISH Scholar and Assistant Director of Children's Education, Lantern Community Services.

“I have been thrilled to work with other Black leaders and the Supportive Housing Network of New York to launch the inaugural class of the Readying Emerging Leaders in Supportive Housing Program (RELISH),” said Nicole Clare, Chief Real Estate Development Officer, BRC.

Congratulations to the inaugural RELISH class graduates! Thank you and congratulations to RESH for identifying this critical need and launching this essential initiative. 

To learn more about RESH, see here.

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