Saturday, February 1, 2003

Retiring leader honored

Adams is leaving Urban League post

Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Sheila Adams

The Urban League of Greater Cincinnati saluted retiring president and CEO Sheila Adams on Friday at its 2003 Annual Meeting and Glorifying the Lions Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency downtown.

Gloria Byrd of Emerge Salon & Spa in Kenwood gave the outgoing president a $1,000 gift certificate to the salon. Adams will retire in December after more than 10 years in leadership.

"This city will remember your legacy for years to come," said Linda Bates Parker of Black Career Women.

Steven Love, chairman of the Urban League's board of trustees, called the occasion "bittersweet," in that it would be the last annual meeting for Adams as president. He told the crowd of more than 750 guests that Adams had built the Urban League into an organization capable of changing the lives of individuals, families and youth.

"Saying a job well-done is not enough," Love said.

Adams urged those in the audience to re-examine their hearts and to make decisions that are just and to serve the welfare of the entire community, whether it's in the boardroom, classroom or the courtroom.

"We must realize that for all our celebration and acknowledgement here today, our community continues to face many social, economic and racial problems," Adams said. "We can't overlook it and think that it is going to go away."

While Adams received much praise, the focus of the meeting was squarely on the accomplishments of the Urban League in 2002 and honoring five outstanding senior citizens for their contributions to the community.

The league awarded its annual "Glorifying the Lions" awards to five senior citizens: Dr. Charles O. Dillard, Ernest McAdams Sr., Louise Stallworth, Marion H. Thompson and Ruth Westheimer. Urban League officials also presented board trustee David Dillon, president and chief operating officer of the Kroger Co., with the Cordell Williams Volunteer Leadership Award.

Otis Williams, a local businessman, delivered the keynote speech in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the African-American Leadership Development Program.

Williams challenged those in the crowd to ask themselves three questions: Where have you been? Where are you now? And where are you going?

"Most people are in a state of settlement," Williams said. "We settle in our relationships with others. ... We settle in our careers. So many people are living for their pension rather than their passion."

Williams said Adams represents a level of excellence everyone should strive to achieve.

"She's been involved, she's been active, she's led," he said. "She's gone from success to significance. Success is about you, but significance is about what you've done for others."


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