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CUL Youth Blogs About Her Interview with CUL President and CEO

My Interview with the President

I recently had the opportunity to interview Ms. Shari Runner. She is the newly appointed President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. This position was recently vacated by Andrea Zopp, who is pursuing an Illinois senate seat.

Ashley: Hello Ms. Shari, my name is Ashley Donald, and I would like to ask you a couple questions and get your opinion on some social issues.

Ashley: What inspired you to make the switch from the corporate world to the non-profit world?

Runner: I have always been involved in the non-profit world. It was in my DNA to be of service to the community. Both of my parents played major roles in the non-profit world. My mother was a social worker, and my father was a pediatrician. I knew I wanted to follow in their footsteps. Even now, I still want to be more involved and make an even greater change in the non-profit world.

Ashley: What is your vision for the Chicago Urban League?

Runner: I want to see the Urban League bloom. The CUL turns 100 years old in December. We’ve been in business for a long time, but we are far from being done. There are still many crimes, police issues, and school problems faced today. We need to collaborate with businesses and politicians in order to implement permanent changes.

Ashley: What made Father Pfleger from Saint Sabina Parish play such an important role in your life?

Runner: Father Pfleger helps direct young, impressionable teens toward a productive lifestyle. He inspires young people to work in legal enterprises and get educated, so they will not be forced to engage in underground activity and be sucked into a destructive way of life.

Ashley: What are some of the ways you think crime can be minimized in our neighborhoods?

Runner: Hire people. Give them jobs and keep them engaged in the communities where they live. Other solutions could include reduction of jail time for petty crimes and greater investments in African American communities.

I also learned some interesting things about Ms. Shari’s personal life:

– She is currently reading “A Letter to My Son” and “The Black Presidency.”

– She is a Carolina Panthers fan

– She grew up right here in Hyde Park.

 – Ashley Donald is a junior at Marian Catholic High School and is involved with the Center for Student Development programs at the Chicago Urban League.