New Leadership at Urban Alliance

Dear Friends of Urban Alliance,

After 12 extraordinary years at the helm of Urban Alliance, Veronica Nolan has made the difficult, but exciting decision to move on to a new chapter of her life. She leaves Urban Alliance in the hands of Eshauna Smith who I know will continue to deepen our services and expand the contributions we make to solve the challenges of youth unemployment.  Our Board of Directors formally selected Eshauna, who is currently serving as our President, as the new CEO at our June 13th board meeting.  Eshauna’s new role takes effect next month and will coincide with Veronica’s departure at the conclusion of our program year this August.

Throughout her tenure, Veronica has been a tireless advocate and constant champion of youth workforce development. She grew Urban Alliance from a small operation that served one DC high school to an organization that now serves over 1,000 youth annually in over 45 high schools across 4 regions. Veronica has earned wide recognition for her successful leadership, including: 2012 Washingtonian of the Year, Washington Business Journal’s 2009 “Real Women Who Mean Business” Award, the Meyer Foundation’s 2008 Exponent Award, and a finalist of the 2008 Washington Post Nonprofit Excellence Award.

Veronica leaves Urban Alliance excellently positioned to build on the strong foundation she has created.  The potential for enhanced impact and growth is possible because of the talented staff that Veronica has managed to assemble and nurture. The entire team is deeply committed to youth development and to building strong bridges between our corporate partners and the young people we serve.

Eshauna joined Urban Alliance in March 2013. As President, Eshauna has worked closely with Veronica to provide leadership in key areas including development, policy and advocacy, communications, and strategic partnerships. Prior to joining Urban Alliance, Eshauna worked as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education in the Government of the District of Columbia, where she led the development of Raise DC, the District’s first cradle-to-career partnership focused on improving educational and workforce development outcomes for DC youth from 0-24. From 2006-2010, Eshauna served as the founding Executive Director of the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates, a coalition of over 100 youth-serving organizations focused on youth employment, youth homelessness and strengthening out-of-school-time supports. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Texas, Austin.

I also want to take this opportunity to share that we have named Nathaniel Cole as the Executive Director of the DC Program. Nathaniel enjoys the distinction of being an Urban Alliance program alumnus and has ably served as the Associate Executive Director over the past year.  We commend Nathaniel on this well-deserved promotion.

Please join us in congratulating Eshauna and Nathaniel on these new roles. We also want to thank Veronica for her many years of exemplary service and unwavering personal commitment. Urban Alliance owes Veronica a huge debt of gratitude and we will all profoundly miss her boundless energy and deeply generous spirit.  We all know that the future has wonderful things in store for Veronica and we look forward to staying in very close touch with her.  She will always be an extremely valued member of the Urban Alliance family.

Thank you for taking the time to read this news and for your continued support as we work to improve the lives of young people in all of our regions.


Mary Menell Zients
Urban Alliance Board Chair