(Brooklyn, NY) – The Board of Directors of Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT) announces the appointment of Dr. Liliana Polo-McKenna as the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer.
Following a thorough five-month search, Dr. Polo-McKenna officially began her new role on July 1, 2017 with the OBT Board’s unanimous support. Prior to being named CEO, she served as Interim Chief Executive Officer.
“I am extremely proud of Dr. Polo-McKenna’s significant accomplishments during her tenure as Interim CEO” said OBT Board Chair Vincent Chirico “I am supremely confident that this worthy organization will continue and, in fact, expand on its 35 years of success in the workforce training industry”
Dr. Polo-McKenna becomes only the third Chief Executive Officer to serve over the course of OBT’s more than three decades of providing services for disadvantaged youth and adults. She replaces Randy Peers, OBT’s prior Chief Executive Officer, who was appointed as the first President & CEO of the newly formed Greater Reading Chamber and Economic Development Corporation in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
“I have been a board member of OBT for over 17 years and part of the team that conducted the search for over 100 candidates to take on the role of CEO” added Board Member and Chair Emeritus Frank Morizio “Liliana was, by far, the best choice and she has been demonstrating her abilities everyday as our interim CEO. Her vision for OBT is going to turn the non-profit world on its ears.”
Founded in 1983, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow is a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit work force development agency serving low-income residents across the five boroughs. OBT provides academic, vocational and social-skills training for young people and adults, empowering them to discover their potential, become self-sufficient with rewarding jobs and futures. Services include intensive education and job training, career placement, high school equivalency (GED) prep, college assistance, ESOL and immigration services.
Today, OBT has grown to serve over 4,500 clients annually. Dr. Polo-McKenna will oversee a budget of $8 million and a staff of 90 full-time and part-time staff across 6 sites.
“I am grateful for the opportunity from the Board of Directors to build on OBT’s incredible foundation, and lead the organization into its future” says Dr Polo-McKenna “As I step into OBT’s leadership, I recognize the responsibility and privilege inherent in leading an organization, particularly when its mission is grounded in equity and economic empowerment-the most important issues of our time.”
Born and raised in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Dr. Polo-McKenna brings a personal connection and over two decades of experience in the fields of education and program development. She began her career as a teacher at Boys and Girls High School and went on to become founding Principal of West Brooklyn Community High School. As Principal, she spearheaded the partnership with Good Shepherd Services to replicate its model transfer school, serving over-aged/under-credited students in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Prior to joining OBT, she was Vice President of School Leadership Support at the NYC Leadership Academy. She first joined OBT in 2016 as Chief Program Officer, where she oversaw the development and strategic planning of OBT’s key programs.
Dr. Polo-McKenna holds a Doctorate in Education Leadership (EdLD) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a BA and MAT from Brown University.