Jacklyn A. Chisholm, Ph.D. is President and Chief Executive Officer of Step Forward, formerly the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland (CEOGC). As the State’s designated anti-poverty agency for Cuyahoga County, Step Forward is tasked and trusted to lead the fight on the ground against poverty in our community. The nonprofit organization helps low-income individuals and families address immediate needs and build long-term skills to transform their lives through early childhood education programs, adult skills training, and other support. 

Prior to joining Step Forward, Dr. Chisholm served as Chief Executive Officer of the Global Music Cultural Center (GMCC), a museum and cultural arts center planned for Atlanta, Georgia.  She is the former Vice President of Planning and External Affairs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum where she was responsible for the development and implementation of the Museum’s strategic plan, management of government relations and community outreach activities, and Project Director for the construction of the Rock Hall’s $13 million Library and Archives.  Dr. Chisholm also served as Associate Vice President for Community Partnerships at Case Western Reserve University, where she developed the Center for Community Partnerships. 

She is the recipient of numerous awards including Crain’s Cleveland Business Woman of Note, YWCA Woman of Professional Excellence, Women of Color Foundation ISIS Award, Council for Opportunity in Education National TRIO Achiever, Cleveland Educators Forum Alumni Achievers Hall of Fame, and Who’s Who in Black Cleveland. Dr. Chisholm is an alumna of Leadership Cleveland and a past member of The Western Reserve Chapter of Links, Inc. 

A Cleveland native, Dr. Chisholm is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University, where she earned three degrees: Bachelor of Arts in medical anthropology, Master of Arts in psychological anthropology, and a doctorate in psychological anthropology with an emphasis in educational anthropology.  Most recently, she earned certificates in nonprofit leadership, nonprofit financial stewardship, creating public value, and performance measurement for effective management of nonprofit organizations from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has earned additional certificates from Harvard Business School Executive Education, Cornell University Administrative Management Institute, and the HERS/Bryn Mawr Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration and was selected as a University of Pennsylvania Wharton Executive Fellow. 

Dr. Chisholm has served on numerous boards and currently serves on the boards of the Cuyahoga County Early Childhood Education Partnership Council, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, and as an advisory member of the PRE4CLE Early Childhood Compact and United Way’s Accountable Health Communities initiative. 


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