Anne Williams-Isom ‘Honored’ to Succeed Geoffrey Canada as CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone
Education advocate and Harlem Children’s Zone CEO Geoffrey Canada has announced he will pass the baton of leadership to current COO Anne Williams-Isom. Isom will assume the position of CEO on July 1, 2014.
“I am honored to assume this responsibility for the children and the community that I love so dearly,” said Isom. “Geoffrey Canada has been a leader and mentor without equal, and I am strengthened by the confidence that he and the Board have put in me to continue to lead the Harlem Children’s Zone on a path of sustainable success. We are not done,” she added, “until every infant in our Baby College crosses the stage in cap and gown to collect his or her college diploma.”
As COO since 2009, Isom has deepened the reach of the organization’s work, which serves more than 12,300 children and 12,400 adults. She managed the continued success of its established programming while growing the organization’s recent Healthy Harlem initiative and its college success rates. Her strategic goal has been to enhance HCZ’s ability to, as she says, “get it right every time for every child.”
“After an exhaustive national search over many years,” said Canada, “Anne was the one person I found that had what’s needed for this job: tough-minded leadership, dedication to our mission and the capacity to love thousands of kids. We have been partners for the past four years and kindred spirits for longer than that. Now the partnership is entering into a new phase, but I will continue to be working with Anne and the organization as President. With Anne in charge of this incredible team, I know that the best is yet to come.”
Isom is known for bolstering institutions through improved data collection and day-to-day staff development. As COO at HCZ, she has been a champion of the use of data to guide the organization’s efforts, and spearheaded “HCZ Stat,” a forum designed to bring together HCZ staff to focus on the organization’s toughest cases in order to come up with case-specific interventions and agency-wide improvements.
“I have seen Anne in action over the past four years, so I know she is the right leader at the right time,” said HCZ Board of Trustees Chair Stanley Druckenmiller. “With Anne’s vision, leadership and extraordinary management skills, HCZ will continue to disrupt the cycle of generational poverty for thousands of children and families.”
Raised in Queens, Isom began her professional career as a community advocate at the New York Police Department in Brooklyn. She served in the city’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) for 13 years in a number of roles including director of office of community planning and development, special counsel to the ACS commissioner, and deputy commissioner of the division for community and governmental affairs. She received her law degree from Columbia University and her undergraduate education at Fordham University.