Millennials Rising: Nonprofit POC Leaders - Fierce Urgency of Now!

Millennials Rising: Carolyn Chou, Elijah Evans, Kendra Hicks, Shavil'le Oliver, Yolenda Coentro

Friday, September 6, 2019
4:30 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.
NonProfit Center, 89 South Street, Boston, Mass. 02111

Register here.

TSNE MissionWorks invites you to an evening with millennials of color in nonprofit leadership who will speak to their trials and triumphs of rising to the top.

As millennials of color begin to take the helm of nonprofit leadership, many are discovering that they are inheriting difficult jobs at unprepared and under-resourced organizations. In this panel, millennial nonprofit executives of color will discuss their experiences as leaders. There will be a moderator-led discussion for panelists to share lessons learned for those on similar journeys and for questions from the audience.

This event is free of cost and includes complimentary food, beverages, and opportunities for networking. The event is wheelchair accessible and real-time captioning will be available. A livestream for the event is also available for those who register, but are unable to attend in person. This event centers the experiences of millennials of color and is open to everyone.

About Our Speakers


  • Yolanda Coentro, President and CEO, Institute for Nonprofit Practice


  • Carolyn Chou, Executive Director, Asian American Resource Workshop
  • Elijah Evans, Executive Director, Bikes Not Bombs
  • Kendra Hicks, Director of Radical Philanthropy, Resist Foundation
  • Shavel'le Olivier, Executive Director, Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition

Learn more about our speakers.

What is the Fierce Urgency of Now Festival?

This event is part of City Awake's Fierce Urgency of Now Festival (FUN). FUN is a five-day series of events hosted by local businesses and organizations geared at highlighting the experiences, challenges, and opportunities for young professionals of color in our city with the ultimate goal of creating community.

With more than 30 events scheduled, you can plan to learn, connect, and have fun all week long, while also lending your voice to change. Join us September 4-8 to help make Boston more inclusive for all.

Register here.


Our Speaker Biographies

Yolanda Coentro is President and CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit Practice where she is leading the development and implementation of the organization’s strategic plan to scale nationally. Yolanda was recently named a 2019 Barr Fellow, featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy as one of "15 More People Changing the Nonprofit World" and one of 25 "Powers That Will Be" in Boston Magazine. She is a 2018 recipient of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Ten Outstanding Young Leaders Award, a 2017 Social Innovation Forum "Social Innovator," and has been featured in the Boston Globe, Boston Voyager, and Social Innovations Journal.

Carolyn Chou is a queer, mixed-race, Chinese American organizer, living and working in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. Carolyn is currently the Executive Director of the Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW), where she supports the leadership development and organizing around issues of racial, economic, and social justice of a diverse base of progressive Asian Americans, primarily young adults. Before AARW, Carolyn worked with recent immigrant youth in Dorchester through the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) at Harvard College. At PBHA, she worked with other college students to support community-based programming, particularly summer and afterschool, manage a student-led nonprofit of 70+ programs, and develop their social justice leadership skills. 

As a life-long advocate, Elijah Evans is very passionate about social justice and positively affecting the lives of youth — especially those who live in underserved, under-resourced communities. He is a testament to the leadership development pathways created at Bikes Not Bombs, having served in multiple roles across the organization — from youth to youth director to board member. Elijah returns to lead the organization after becoming a teacher through Teach for America (TFA) — spending three years in the classroom in Chelsea and Brookline, and managing operations at TFA’s new teacher institute during the summer. Elijah studied African American history and Spanish linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, has a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business; he is also a musician, bike mechanic, and avid cyclist.

Kendra Hicks is a first-generation Black Dominican, mother, wife, and installation artist from Roxbury, MA. Kendra began her work in the city with a fierce yearning for change at the tender age of fourteen. As an artist, a youth organizer and later a StreetWorker with the StreetSafe Boston Initiative she dedicated herself to supporting the growth and transitions of young people all across the city. She believes that supporting community-based organizations in building the power of those whom they serve is an integral part of the movement for social change. In all of her previous work, she’s collaborated with colleagues to develop environments that support people of color and their accomplices in deepening their understanding of how systemic inequities create the conditions we see in our communities while building alternative organizational principles, structures, and strategies. In her current role as the Director of Radical Philanthropy at the Resist Foundation Kendra is using her head, heart and hands to explore how foundations, as a part of the non-profit industrial complex, can be more accountable, emergent and responsive by simply using their imaginations to expand beyond what they believe is possible.

Shavel'le Olivier has recently become the Executive Director of Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition in July after receiving her master’s in Nonprofit Management at Northeastern University. Previous to this position she had been an active in the organization and Mattapan community, volunteering her time as the Youth Program Director and overseeing 8-10 MFFC Vigorous Youth and the MFFC Youth Coordinator. Since 2011 she has worked to bring biking in Mattapan by through finding Mattapan on Wheels, a free youth-led biking event created to raise awareness to the that black and brown people do bike, providing an opportunity for young people to exercise their leadership skills, and utilizing green and open spaces for physical activity by bike.