Olis Simmons is a noted visionary executive known for advancing innovative systems change efforts and building comprehensive programs to transform people and place. Simmons has more than two decades of senior level experience in the public and nonprofit sectors where she has conceptualized and managed large-scale initiatives, policy campaigns, collaboratives, and multi-year ventures, representing hundreds of millions of dollars in diverse resources.
Simmons currently serves as the founding President & CEO of Youth UpRising (YU), a celebrated community transformation engine committed to making one of our nation’s most disinvested communities healthy and economically robust. A key innovation is her work to gear public and private dollars towards wealth-building rather than service delivery. This move from spending to investment is designed to stimulate both individual and collective growth while fostering improvements is education, housing, community assets and career opportunities. Simmons’ goal of catalyzing change while ensuring the community preserves its cultural nuances and maintains control over its destiny is the new face of community economic development.
Her other work includes national public policy and program design work related to workforce development with Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC), and leadership with County Health Care and Social Service Agencies.