BATON ROUGE – LSU alumnus Adren O. Wilson was named Public Allies’ fourth national CEO on Thursday, Sept. 4, a position that will support the nonprofit’s mission to advance new leadership communities, nonprofits and civic participation.
Wilson – a native of rural Louisiana – has held several leadership positions as an organizer, advocate, administrator and reformer working to lift individuals, families and communities out of poverty.
“I understand the importance of the American dream, the hope it affords every citizen, and the critical need for leadership and advocacy to make its promise a reality for all,” he said. “I am honored and excited to lead Public Allies in its mission of preparing a new generation of leaders for social change.”
Most recently, Wilson led workforce development and community college retention efforts as Gulf Coast regional director for Single Stop USA. In addition, he has developed transformational leaders for public schools as executive director of New Leaders Greater New Orleans; worked to end persistent poverty in the South by leading the Equity and Inclusion Campaign; and trained thousands of young leaders to advocate for and serve the needs of vulnerable youth as national director of youth and student leadership at The Children’s Defense Fund.
From 2004-08, Wilson served both Democratic and Republican governors as assistant secretary with the Louisiana Department of Social Services, where he led the Office of Family Support, which employed 3,000 people in providing services to families in need, including in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He also served as executive director of the Louisiana Children’s Cabinet and initiated policy reforms such as the passage of the first state-level Earned Income Tax Credit in the South.
Wilson has Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and political science from LSU. He also holds a Master in Public Administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a doctorate in public policy from the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Southern University.
Public Allies’ mission is to advance new leaders to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation. Its signature AmeriCorps program recruits diverse young adults with a passion to make a difference and provides them paid, full-time, nonprofit apprenticeships and rigorous leadership development to turn that passion into a career working for community and social change. Since 1992, more than 5,600 Allies have completed the program, and more than 85 percent have continued careers in the nonprofit and public sectors. Public Allies is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis. and operates in 23 communities across the country. Wilson will be based in Public Allies’ Washington, D.C. office.
For more information about Public Allies, visit www.publicallies.org/.