Honoree Headshot

Michael P. McMillan

President and CEO
Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc.

Location: St. Louis, MO
Founded: 1918
Industry: Human Services

As a leader, Michael P. McMillan believes that there is a cycle for everything in business.

“There is a time and a season for leading, supporting, following and being in the masses,” said McMillan, president and CEO, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. (ULSTL). “Every situation does not require your leadership and sometimes the best thing for you to do is follow someone else’s leadership. The most significant part of that lesson is discernment to know when to do what is appropriate.”

Inspired in large part by his uncle Col. Clifton W. Gates, a prominent Black St. Louis entrepreneur who served as chairman of the board of ULSTL. After a highly successful career in politics serving as the youngest elected alderman and license collector in the City of St. In Louis’ history, McMillan sought to continue his legacy of service at ULSTL.

Since becoming president and CEO, McMillan has doubled the agency’s revenue from $17 million to $35 million, created greater service efficiencies by realigning and increasing operating staff, and creating new programs. Additionally, he led a merger with the historic Grace Hill Settlement House resulting in a combined $38 million infusion for Head Start/Early Head Start programs and the addition of a Women’s Business Center now poised to provide support for nearly 200 minority and women-owned businesses in just over one year.

Since its founding over 100 years ago, ULSTL has continually adapted to meet the evolving needs of both clients and community.

“Our vision is to be the best human service agency providing empowering services to African Americans and others in our region that ever was or ever will be,” McMillan said. “To do that, we will be innovative, agile and strategic, and properly positioned.”

McMillan explained that innovation entails better using data, technology, and research to recognize emerging trends, anticipate the impact on the clients they serve and adjust their programming accordingly. Being agile and strategic, he said, includes expanding their ability to provide impactful community and economic development programs through strategic partnerships and/or mergers. Regarding being properly positioned, McMillan said, “The nonprofit landscape in our region is crowded with many struggling to deliver against their mission and others shutting their doors. The Urban League has proven that it has the strong management and leadership infrastructure needed to effectively deliver not only the branded services aligned with our mission but also to quickly scale up and facilitate the delivery of programs and services for partners including, corporate, government, and other NGOs.”

He added that in the next five years, ULSTL will be a leader in the stabilization of challenged neighborhoods through innovative housing and economic development initiatives.

“We will expand our service delivery footprint by being the top trusted partner for the delivery of high-quality programs for institutions and organizations in need of a service delivery partner in both the public and private sector and we will create a model cultural district anchored by the Urban League Regional headquarters stimulating development north of the Delmar Divide,” McMillan said.

And with his leadership characteristics and passion, there is no doubt that he will make this happen.

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Honoree fun fact

Michael's favorite time of the year is Christmas. He can be found selecting gifts for needy families and special tokens of appreciation for various donors, board members, staff, and partners.

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