Michael P McMillan
President & CEO
The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis
Location: St. Louis, MO
Industry: Human Services Nonprofit
*SECOND YEAR HONOREE*
Michael P. McMillan accepted a role straight out of college as the youngest special assistant in the cabinet of the first Black mayor of the City of St. Louis, and his career has been on the uptick ever since.
“The level of responsibility entrusted to me was tremendous, as was the pressure to succeed,” he said. “One learns very quickly how to collaborate, cut through bureaucracy, make adjustments and use resources wisely.”
McMillan applies all those skills in his current role as president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.
The mission of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Inc. is to empower African Americans and others throughout the region in securing economic self-reliance, social equality and civil rights.
McMillan said he is most proud of the progress being made at the Urban League headquarters at 1408 North Kingshighway. The 205,000-square-foot former Sears Department Store has been transformed into a service delivery hub with a food pantry that helps more than 200 families per week, utility assistance programs, mortgage and rent assistance programs, employment services, a health clinic, dental offices, legal offices and a community meeting space.
Work is also underway for an African American history and culture museum that will be housed on the first floor. Simmons Bank and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Inc. have partnered to establish a new Simmons Bank branch on the first floor as well, with a planned opening by summer 2023.
In the coming year, the Urban League will complete its $30 million capital campaign and the majority of the improvements to its new campus.
“We will continue to position the agency as the most trusted and reliable partner for delivering critical programs to the underserved in our community, including the opening of a new empowerment center in North St. Louis County, expanding services at our St. Clair County location, opening our new East St. Louis Save Our Sons office, moving into our new entrepreneurship center space in north city and growing our services to new business owners,” the organization said. “We will continue our COVID-19 work by moving into those impacted neighborhoods with low vaccine uptake to provide resources and neighborhood-based vaccination opportunities.”
The organization is also training the next generation of leaders through the Urban League Young Professionals program. The program provides volunteer opportunities to serve on various committees and even on the board of directors.
“I’m constantly trying to prepare the next generation of leaders on our staff by empowering them to lead on key assignments, providing professional development and exposure to other leaders,” McMillan said. “Internally, we encourage our managers to develop growth plans for staff and communicate regularly about progress. We also work to retain staff we’ve invested in, including finding new roles for them within the organization as they grow. We see impact when our ULYP participants are recognized in our community and at work for their leadership and community engagement.”
My recognition as a Titan has been a tremendous honor that I work hard every day to live up to and be worthy of. The greatest thing about being included in the Titan 100 is the ability to learn from colleagues in various industries about their journeys and how their life lessons can be applied to all of us.