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CEO Angela Blanchard talks at LU

blanchard-address-w.jpgLamar University alumna Angela Blanchard, president and CEO of BakerRipley (formerly Neighborhood Centers Inc), visited campus to present her breakthrough strategies to revitalized neighborhoods in two public lectures and a luncheon for Women and Philanthropy March 2.
The presentations were titled “Figure It Out Leadership, An Evolutionary Approach,” and “You Can’t Build on Broken: A New Framework for Community Change.”
“It’s their story, not ours, and their aspirations, not ours,” Blanchard said, describing her nontraditional Appreciative Community Building approach that leverages the strengths of a community rather than focusing on its shortcomings.
blanchard-intro-w.jpgBlanchard seeks the counsel and consent of the residents before implementing change to a neighborhood and said that the “quality of our listening determines our success.” She explained that the unique solutions each community requires are best designed and executed with the participation of the locals, who are energized when given control.
“The energy that comes from that really propels the agency forward in its work,” she said.
Her breakthrough strategies have proven effective in greater Houston area neighborhoods, leveraging the city’s diversity to address the challenge of an evolving community. Today, BakerRipley has 5 community centers, 33 school locations, 20 senior service centers, 6 tax and financial service center, and 14 locations providing connections to jobs.
Blanchard says that once a project begins, the support usually follows. Neighborhood Centers Inc., founded by just 12 women, now has approximately 7000 volunteers and 1300 employees. She holds that the key to success is to secure participation of many parties, starting from the bottom up.
“Leadership isn’t exclusive to position,” she said. “Its someone willing to step forward and help.”
Blanchard graduated from LU in 1984 with a bachelors degree in accounting and worked for a Big 8 accounting firm before joining then Neighborhood Centers in Houston and becoming an expert in community development, disaster recovery, and long-term integration for immigrants and refugees.
BakerRipley has become the largest non-profit organization in Texas and ranks in the Top 1 percent of charitable groups nationwide under Blanchard’s more than 30 years of leadership. It currently serves more than half-a-million people in 48 counties and operates with an annual budget of $250 million.
blanchard-snowball-w.jpgBlanchard’s achievements have earned her recognition from publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, CNN, NPR, Associated Press and Houston Chronicle. She has received three invitations to the White House and accolades from numerous organizations including the YMCA, The University of Houston, National Council of Jewish Women, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Houston Woman magazine and the Harris County Women’s Political Caucus.
She is sought out by international nonprofit organizations and government leaders and has participated in a wide range of Strategy Sessions and Learning Exchanges, including the World Inquiry Conference 2016, The Executive Leadership Academy, Habitat for Humanity International, Civic Leader & Nonprofit Collaborative and Health & Wellness Alliance for Children.
Blanchard has been an active participant in the Greater Houston Partnership Board, Executive Women’s Partnership, UpSkill Houston, JP Morgan Chase National Community Advisory Board, Building Healthy Places Network National Advisory Council and the Texas Workforce Investment Council (appointed by then-Governor George W. Bush).