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Dr. Jacklyn Chisholm, Step Forward President & CEO, receives Woman of Achievement Award

Dr. Jacklyn Chisholm, President and Chief Executive Officer for Step Forward, has been named one of YWCA of Greater Cleveland’s 2023 Career Women of Achievement.

Chisholm is a Cleveland native, a graduate of Case Western Reserve University, and serves on the boards of the Cuyahoga County Early Childhood Education Partnership Council, Women of Color Foundation, and as an advisory member of the PRE4CLE Early Childhood Compact and United Way’s Accountable Health Communities Initiative.

Photo by McKinley Wiley, The Dark Room Co.

According to the YWCA website, the Woman of Achievement Award “is presented to a select group of Northeast Ohio women who have achieved extraordinary accomplishments through career success, community service, leadership, mentoring, and dedication to YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women.”

The agency has honored more than 250 past honorees.

“I nominated Dr. Jacklyn Chisholm for the Women of Achievement award because I felt like she had been overlooked. Dr. Chisholm has 300 plus employees, she has a $45 million budget, and she is an amazing human being, Alexandria Johnson Boone, the Chairwoman and Founder of the Women of Color Foundation, said. “It’s Jackie’s turn.”

Dr. Chisholm and Alex have been close friends for years.

“When they talk about women and how we have our circle of friends, or our kitchen cabinet, I have five people in that cabinet and Jacklyn Chisholm is in that cabinet and has been since the day we met,” Alex said. “I just can’t say enough about her. I remember at our Women of Color Conference that we held recently, everybody would say, ‘Oh, we love Dr. Chisholm,’ and I would say, ‘Well, let me tell you something. Dr. Chisholm loves you too.’”

Prior to joining Step Forward in 2015, Dr. Chisholm served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Global Music Cultural Center in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the former Vice President of Planning and External Affairs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and served as Associate Vice President for Community Partnerships at Case Western Reserve University.

​“She is a great leader and extraordinarily grateful and graceful and loves her employees,” Alex said.

Step Forward employees were elated to hear the news.

"It couldn't have happened to a better person," one person said.

"We love you, Dr. Chisholm," other staff members exclaimed.

Dr. Chisholm received a standing ovation when the YWCA announced the award privately during a Board of Directors meeting and then again, when the YWCA published the news online November 15th.

“I want to thank you for the honor and recognition,” Dr. Chisholm said, when she was first notified of her achievement. “And to my team, I’m privileged. I am privileged to lead this organization. And thank you for your hard work because you make me shine, but more importantly, you serve our community. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”

Dr. Chisholm will be honored at the YWCA's Women of Achievement awards ceremony May 23, 2023. The ceremony will be in person at Severance Hall.

To learn more about this year's Women of Achievement recipients and the upcoming ceremony, click here.

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