A version of this article appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Erikson on Children under the headline "Called to lead." More from this issue

Five Erikson alumni are in the inaugural cohort of a senior leaders initiative designed to advance policy, systems, and diversity in Illinois’s early childhood field.

The Illinois Early Childhood Senior Leaders will engage in a 10-month program of seminars, coaching, and networking geared to accelerate their trajectory into the upper levels of management of early childhood organizations.

Erikson alumni in the 2014 cohort of Senior Leaders are:

  • Milagros Fernandez, IMH ’10, Infant Welfare Society of Chicago
  • Anita Harvey-Dixon, M.S. ’04, Ounce of Prevention Fund
  • Leticia Ramirez, IMH ’10, SGA Youth & Family Services
  • Pamela Staples, M.S. ’11, Infant Welfare Society of Evanston
  • Tracey Young, Admin ’01, M.Ed. ’02, Carole Robertson Center for Learning

Also selected for the Senior Leader program are:

  • Nicole Cameron, Metropolitan Family Services
  • Azucena Gonzalez, Gads Hill Center
  • Dawnielle Jeffrey, Children’s Home + Aid Society of Illinois
  • Toni Porter, Illinois Network of Child Care Resource Referral Agencies (INCCRRA)
  • Scott Seftenberg, Illinois Action for Children
  • Aminah Wyatt-Jones, Illinois Action for Children
  • John Young, Children’s Home + Aid Society of Illinois

“The new Senior Leaders initiative was designed to develop leaders for the contemporary early childhood policy environment, with a focus on increasing the pool of diverse leaders with the confidence and competence to develop, implement, and analyze critical issues in early childhood policy and systems building in Illinois,” said Jana Fleming, director of Herr Research Center for Children and Social Policy at Erikson, which is where the program is housed.

Selected through a nominations process, cohort members hold leadership positions in nonprofit organizations across the state.

Illinois Early Childhood Senior Leaders is an initiative of the Illinois Early Childhood Fellows and Erikson Institute.