Sacella Smith is a highly effective social justice and nonprofit leader with 20 years of community affairs and government relations experience. Recognized as an expert in nonprofit administration, higher education and workforce development best practices; she is often referred to as pragmatic and versatile communicator who is skilled in working with diverse constituencies. Her compassionate and authentic approach to finding solutions for complex problems contributes to her proven record of success in unifying groups with divergent viewpoints.
For nine years, Sacella served as the Executive Director of the Youth Job Center (YJC), a thirty-six-year-old nonprofit organization located in Evanston, Illinois that provides job placement, training and employment support to approximately 1,500 youth each year. Under her leadership and direction, the YJC launched multiple employment and training initiatives, created regional partnerships and increased its annual operating budget from $485K to $1.5 Million.
In 2014, Sacella was hired by the President of Triton College to restructure and expand the institution’s Grants Development Office. During her tenure at Triton, she has centralized grant operations, formalized and streamlined grant processes while also diversifying the institution’s funding portfolio and increasing its grants revenue from $2.7 Million to $6.5 Million.
Often referred to as a “visionary,” Sacella is a highly effective business leader, skilled in change management, strategy development, fund acquisition, board engagement and operations planning. Sacella’ s prior experience includes positions with Bethel New Life, Inc., Uptown Habitat for Humanity, Safer Foundation and Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing and Training. Sacella has been recognized as a nonprofit “trailblazer” and was awarded the “Woman to Woman Making a Difference in Illinois” by the state treasurer’s office. She also received the Family Focus, Inc. Community Leader Award and the NAACP Evanston/Northshore Community Impact Award.
She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she majored in Political Science. She also holds a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration and Management.