Urban Pathways’ Communications Staff recently sat down with our new President of the Board of Directors, Steven Sheppard DiCesare. Get to know more about “Shep” and why he feels such a strong connection to the mission of Urban Pathways.
1. Why did you decide to join Urban Pathways’ Board of Directors?
I joined the Board through Robin Hood. I was looking to become part of a dynamic, mission-focused non-profit that truly served New York City’s neediest population. Robin Hood referred me to Urban Pathways and I knew I wanted to become involved immediately!
2. What interests you most about the work that we do at Urban Pathways?
Urban Pathways’ employees have a non-stop client focus. Our staff goes above and beyond for our clients again and again.
3. What about Urban Pathways’ mission really speaks to you?
Our mission is a simple one: take our homeless clients, no matter where they came from, no matter what their current situation, and meet them where they are. Offer them a chance to enter stable, supportive housing and start down a journey of independence and dignity. This is an extremely powerful message and one that infuses everything that we do, from the Board of Directors to the most recent staff hire.
4. How long have you been on the Board of Directors?
I joined the Board in 2009. I have previously served as Board Secretary, Board Vice-President, and now I serve as President.
5. How do you think your experience as a Director prepared you for your new role as President?
Understanding how the organization worked, working closely with Fred Shack and other management, and taking on various leadership roles has made my transition a smooth one.
6. What are your primary goals as the new Board President?
I’d like to grow Urban Pathways’ profile through social media and explore new avenues of fundraising. The work our staff does is amazing and the more people that know about it, the more will support our work. Being featured on CNN this summer was no fluke! Working with Fred Shack, I also want to ensure that our employees are acknowledged and supported in many ways.
7. On which other Board committees do you serve?
I serve on the Executive Committee (which consists of the President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer), the Personnel Compensation Committee, and the Nominating Committee.
8. What are the characteristics of a great board member?
Dedication to Urban Pathway’s mission - for a Board member, this primarily manifests itself in two ways: participating in Board meetings and committee meetings, and actively fundraising for the organization. In addition, a great Board member needs to be constantly learning about all facets of the organization, from its fiscal health, to HR, to operations, to our program offerings. You never know where the next challenge or opportunity may arise, so having that broad knowledge is invaluable.
9. Is there anything that you would like to say specifically to Urban Pathways’ staff?
To Urban Pathways’ staff-- Thank You! You are on the front line every day making the lives of homeless and formerly homeless individuals better. Without you, fighting for our clients every day, we would not be able effect the change that we have. Know that you are appreciated and commended by myself and the entire Board of Directors.
About Urban Pathways
Urban Pathways is a New York City-based, nonprofit organization that provides housing and support to homeless and at-risk adults throughout the Metropolitan area. Urban Pathways serves more than 2,500 homeless individuals a year and provides transitional, extended stay, and permanent housing to chronically homeless individuals.