For Immediate Release
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The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center names Dr. Smith as its new CEO
New York – December 7, 2023 Today, Urban Resource Institute (URI) announced its best wishes for Deputy CEO Dr. Carla Smith, who will step down from her role in January 2024, to be the new Chief Executive Officer of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (The Center).
Dr. Smith’s tenure at URI began in 2015 when she joined the organization as the Senior Vice President of Programs, a position short-lived after quickly rising to Chief Programs Officer, and then to her current role as Deputy CEO in 2021. A recognized thought leader and collaborative partner, Dr. Smith serves as a trusted advisor to CEO Nathaniel Fields, URI Executive Team, and the Board of Trustees; and as an inspiring leader to URI staff and the survivors and families they serve.
“Carla is an exceptional trailblazer, a skilled advisor, a valued mentor, and a much-loved leader whose strategic insights and sound judgment have contributed greatly to Urban Resource Institute’s growth and success over the past eight years,” said Nathaniel M. Fields, CEO of Urban Resource Institute. “Her incredible character, steadfast integrity and deep empathy, coupled with her extraordinary leadership capabilities will be tremendous assets at The Center. We wish Carla the very best in her new role as CEO.”
As Deputy CEO, Dr. Smith has led the URI Executive Team members responsible for the Operations, Finance and Programs Divisions of the organization, which includes more than 20 shelters across New York City, housing more than 2,500 adults and children on any given night. She shares responsibility for facilitating the development and execution of trauma-informed programming, impacting over thousands of people annually through direct service, prevention, and intervention programs.
Dr. Smith has been instrumental in developing, expanding, and funding URI’s innovative, impactful programs – including the Abusive Partner Intervention Program(APIP), which works to reduce future incidents of domestic violence and promote healthy relationships among partners who cause harm; Economic Empowerment Program (EEP), providing resources and tools for domestic violence survivors and homeless families to create economic freedom and stability; and our groundbreaking People and Animals Living Safely (PALS), the only NYC program that offers co-living for survivors and pets.
“It is with a bittersweet mix of emotions that I announce my transition from URI after eight fulfilling years of service. Serving first as SVP, then Chief Program Officer to my current role as Deputy CEO has been a profound journey. It is with deep gratitude that I reflect on the impactful work we’ve accomplished together. The decision to step into a new role as the first CEO of Color at The Center in NYC is an exciting chapter that aligns with my passion for inclusivity and advocacy,” said Dr. Smith. “While I will dearly miss the incredible team and clients at URI, I am eager to embrace this opportunity to contribute to the vibrant and diverse LGBTQ+ community of which I am a member. I carry the lessons, memories, and connections forged at URI with me, and I am committed to continuing the vital work of empowering and supporting those in need to ensure that all have access to safe spaces, services and systems.”
As an influential LGBTQ+ leader with a 25-year career devoted to social services to improve the lives of New York’s most vulnerable populations, Dr. Smith partnered closely with leaders across the organization to drive URI’s initiatives in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, ensuring the organization and leaders reflect the diverse communities they serve. She also demonstrated her deep commitment to supporting and helping develop an open access model of care to reduce barriers, enhance shelter access and initiate the provision of culturally competent services for members of the LGBTQIA+ community through the development of ongoing staff training and institution of protocol revisions.
“Thank you, Dr. Smith, for your passion, persistence and unparalleled performance. You will be missed but not forgotten,” said Whittaker Mack, III, URI Board Chair.
Thank you to Mr. Fields, in particular, for his invaluable mentorship, to our dynamic leadership team, committed staff members and especially to our courageous and inspirational clients. It has been an unforgettable journey, and I look forward to the meaningful impact that each of our organizations will continue to have on the communities we serve,” added Dr. Smith.
Read the full announcement from The Center.
About Urban Resource Institute (URI)
Urban Resource Institute (URI) transforms the lives of domestic violence survivors and homeless families by empowering individuals, families, and communities, particularly communities of color and other vulnerable populations, to end cycles of domestic violence, homelessness, poverty, and trauma by increasing safety and resiliency. As the largest provider of domestic violence shelter services in the US and a leading provider of homeless services, URI’s programs impact more than 40,000 individuals annually through prevention, intervention, education, and direct services in both residential and non-residential settings in New York. URI is recognized as a thought-leader with influence across the U.S. and beyond. For more information, visit www.urinyc.org or follow on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
If you or someone you know needs immediate assistance, call NYC’s 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.