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Tanisha Pleasant

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Director of Equitable Strategies

As director of equitable strategies, Tanisha co-designs the Cradle to Career Network’s racial equity strategies. She partners across the organization to align strategy, offerings and real-time supports to advance communities’ progress toward systems transformation. As convener of the Network Racial & Ethnic Equity Action team, Tanisha supports partnerships to make progress on racial equity and share learning across the Network.

Before joining StriveTogether, Tanisha worked as the director of talent acquisition operations for Teach For America, where she led the strategy and execution for a national selection process for instructional coaches, working with 100 senior leaders across 53 regions. In that role, she managed the implementation of the new operating model for the national selection process, developed solutions and processes to improve hiring efficiency and leveraged data to close gaps to access and experience across lines of diversity.

For the past 15 years, Tanisha has managed strategy and operations across the social sector, working with students, teachers, senior leaders, board members and corporate funders at the Joffrey Ballet, Columbia College Chicago, YWCA and the University of Chicago to scale and streamline operations and manage high-impact programs and events.

Tanisha has a bachelor’s degree of arts and sciences in speech communications and African American studies from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and a master’s in business administration from the Keller Graduate School of Management at DeVry. She and her son, Kendall, live in Chicago.

hear from tanisha

what is a place that shaped you, and how does it give you purpose?

I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, where I learned to be resilient and resourceful, and to build community with those around me in my school and in my neighborhood. My teachers cared for me and expected nothing less than greatness, my neighbors looked after me and made sure I was safe, and there were so many successful people around me who looked like me and inspired me to believe in my brilliance. Being surrounded by so much love growing up in Chicago — despite the inequities I was too young to understand — gives me the fuel to continue to work so that kids on the South Side of Chicago and neighborhoods around the world can too be grounded in their own brilliance and soar.

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