Portland executive stood out in national search
Regence executive Michael Alexander has accepted the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Portland.
“I am very proud of the time and dedication our board, staff and community leaders have given to the search for our new CEO,” said Lolenzo Poe, board chair for the Urban League of Portland. “We had talented candidates from around the country express interest, as well as respected leaders from right here in Portland.”
Poe said Alexander stood out for his success as a community leader and in business.
The Urban League began its search for a new executive after the December resignation of former League president Marcus Mundy. The group has been led by two interim presidents this year – former US Bank executive, Quentin Strode, and former Tri-Met executive Bruce M. Watts.
Pending National Urban League approval, Alexander will serve as the organization’s 13th present.
“This is a big win for The Urban League of Portland and for all of the Greater Portland community who support their mission,” said Mark Ganz, president and CEO of Cambia Health Solutions. “Michael is someone who respects and represents the interests of all people and a natural-born leader who serves with extraordinary vision, deep-rooted passion and the highest level of professionalism. He’s certainly made our organization stronger, and I am confident that he will lead the Urban League with the same commitment and conviction.”
“I am honored to have been chosen from a very qualified candidate pool,” Alexander said. “The Urban League is a critical voice in advocating and elevating the interests of Portlanders and Oregonians who want and deserve to share more fully in all this very special city has to offer. I am eager to join the league’s staff, board of directors and partners in continuing to promote the important mission it has so diligently advanced since 1945.”
A proven leader with an established career in the health care industry, Alexander assumes the Urban League position after nearly seven years in management for Regence. Since moving to Portland in 2005, he has contributed to the oversight of several local organizations to include serving on the board of directors for Portland Parks, LifeWorks Northwest and the American Leadership Forum: Oregon Chapter, as well as the Campaign Cabinet for the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette.
“Mike Alexander is an inspired choice to lead the Urban League or Portland,” said Keith Thomajan, President and CEO, the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. “I have had the pleasure of working with him on important community initiatives here in Portland. His corporate expertise, community knowledge and lifelong dedication to health and human services positions him to be a transformative and visionary leader for this important community organization.”
Throughout the past several months, the Urban League has worked tirelessly to strengthen the agency’s relationships and practices. The group’s leadership has been dedicated to returning the focus of the organization and the community back on the critical work being done as champions for equity, empowerment and opportunities for all people. Partnerships with the State of Oregon and Multnomah Country are strong and continue to provide valuable services and resources for underserved children, families and seniors.
Watts said he was honored to step in and help lead the Urban League during the transition of leadership.
“This historic agency continues to do very important work in this community,” he said. “I have the greatest respect for the work that is being done today as well as the immeasurable value this organization brings to this entire community. I look forward to continuing to serve the League in any way I can moving forward.”
Jeff Cogen, Multnomah County chair, gave praise to the Urban League for their selection.
“For the past several months, the Urban League has proven its diligence and dedication to preserving the mission and practices of the organization by restoring the agency’s standing with the county. We look forward to working together with Mr. Alexander to continue the critically important work of advocating for access, equity and inclusion throughout our community,” Cogan said.
Alexander, a Brooklyn native, holds a Master’s degree in social services from Bryn Mawr College’s Graduate School of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Lewis University. He is an American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow and accredited by the Academy of Certified Social Workers. Alexander has three grown children, two sons and a daughter.
The Urban League of Portland, an affiliate of the National Urban League, is a non-profit, community-based organization headquartered in north Portland. Since 1945, the group has advocated, served and empowered African Americans and other Oregonians to create an equitable place to work and live. This past year, the League provided direct services to over 1,000 individuals and engaged over 8,000 through community outreach and advocacy work.
For more information on the Urban League of Portland, visit ulpdx.org.