May 31, 2022 – Executive search and non-profit consulting firm KEES recently recruited Lucretzia Jamiso as the new executive director of Youth Job Center (YJC), a youth workforce agency in Cook County, IL. She will succeed Karen Tollenaar Demorest, who is departing in June after eight years leading the organization. “The entirety of Lucretzia’s professional experience has been in roles that help young people succeed,” said Heather Eddy, president and CEO of KEES. “Her career is a true reflection of her dedication, determination, and commitment to helping youth and young adults find pathways to their future with equitable living wages. We congratulate the entire YJC community and are proud to be selected, again, as the search partner when Karen announced her transition plans.”
“We were seeking a strategic, visionary executive, and confident decision-maker to lead YJC through its next phase of growth and development,” said Doug Oettinger, board search committee chair. “The board of directors unanimously selected Lucretzia after a rigorous vetting and decision-making process. She brought complementary experience to YJC’s past and will swiftly lead us forward into the future and future opportunities to continue our impact for youth and young people.”
Ms. Jamison brings a 22-year career in non-profits, government, and higher education. Her life’s passion has been centered on youth and young adults in workforce focused missions. She previously served as dean of the Dawson Technical Institute (DTI), part of Kennedy King College, City Colleges of Chicago. Ms. Jamison was responsible for a team of over 40 and a budget of $4.2 million. DTI annually impacts over 1,000 students and residents.
Ms. Jamison has strong experience providing managerial leadership as well as implementing and monitoring volunteer, academic, vocational, and employment programs. Prior to her role at DTI, she served as executive director (Chicago campus) for the Center for Employment Training. She also worked as director of workforce funding for the City of Chicago (Department of Family and Support Services), where she had hands-on experience evaluating programs and distributing Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds to underserved communities and trained agencies to comply with grant requirements. She began her career at Junior Achievement of Chicago, a youth organization that inspires and prepares young people to succeed.
“I am honored and humbled to have been selected as the next executive director of Youth Job Center,” said Ms. Jamison. “The mission of YJC resonates with my lifelong passion for helping young people navigate their pathway in life. I look forward to working alongside the board to ensure our youth can lead positive and self-fulfilling careers, with long-term outcomes that benefit both families and communities.”
Jessica Ticus, Youth Job Center board chair, will guide the transition from Ms. Demorest to Ms. Jamison this summer. “Lucretzia brings a great background in workforce development, strong financial management, fundraising experience, and a warm and inviting personality,” said Ms. Ticus. “The board and staff are very excited to welcome her, and we look forward to bringing job skills and employment opportunities to young people throughout the Chicago area.”
Youth Job Center has been a provider of employment-related and career-building services for Evanston and Chicago youth experiencing barriers to successful job placement and careers for 39 years. YJC’s mission is, “Success for young people in the workplace and in life.” YJC envisions a future where all young people have the support to build a meaningful career and share widely their skills and potential.
KEES, based in Naperville, IL, focuses on building transformative teams and leaders in the non-profit sector. The firm was founded in 2013 as an expansion of Alford Executive Search. It is women-owned and operated, and provides a wide variety of services, including executive search, specialty and interim staffing, HR consulting, and leadership development.
Ms. Eddy has worked with non-profits and institutions to build capacity for more than 20 years. For the past 12 years, she has focused on strengthening executives, boards, managers, and philanthropic leaders. She co-founded KEES and leads the organization’s team after serving for 17 years in multiple executive leadership roles with the Alford Group/Alford Group Executive Search, a national consulting firm that partners with non-profits and provides fundraising and organizational strategy consulting.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media