August 23, 2018
Board Leadership Q&A
With the new program year right around the corner, this year’s Board Chair, Ronnie Dillon, and President, Arlette Ferguson Mathis, are gearing up for their new roles. We sat down with them to learn a little more about them and their involvement with CCC.
Q: How long have you been involved with CCC?
Arlette: I’ve been involved for 20 years.
Ronnie: I’ve been on the board for years, and I’ve been fully active since I retired in 2015.
Q: What first interested you in CCC?
Ronnie: The advocacy. I’m a lawyer, and the idea of using advocacy to work towards structural change really appealed to me.
Arlette: I was at a meeting at CCC and saw a brochure for the Community Leadership Course. I had three children at the time, and I was really concerned by what I saw happening around me in New York City. I wanted to get more involved in making a change.
Q: What are your goals for the Board this year?
Arlette: Getting used to my role, getting to know the people on the Board and the Advocacy Council really well, and making sure they have as great an experience with CCC as I’ve had.
Ronnie: sustaining the quality of Board members and building a deep bench for the future, hopefully one that is representative of New York City.
Q: What is your favorite part of your involvement with CCC?
Ronnie: Working with the staff. Everyone is so dedicated, professional, smart, and fun. They are so patient and helpful and willing to help us work through every question we have.
Arlette: I agree. I also love seeing the needle move slowly but surely for kids in NYC. There is progress being made here, and it takes patience, but CCC is so dedicated to making things better for New York City kids.
Q: Are there any memories that stand out from your time at CCC?
Arlette: Something that comes to mind is visiting a juvenile detention center years ago. I had to leave all my belongings behind and walk through a door, and then I heard the door slam shut. When I heard the slam I almost started crying. Then I walked through another door and heard that one slam shut, and then I saw kids, some nine and ten years old, in the center. It made me think about how isolated they were at such a young age, and made me realize how important CCC is and how the work CCC does could really make a difference for these kids.
Ronnie: Site visits during the Community Leadership Course really stand out to me. I’m a lifelong New Yorker, but I lived outside the city for nine years. Going on the site visits made me realize that so many of the issues in the city are the same as they were when I was growing up. The income disparities and inequalities are still there.
I also love going to the Youth Community Leadership Course (YCLC) graduations. The kids are always so impressive.
Arlette: Another memory I love is getting to watch my son open up a press conference with a City Council member during his time with the YCLC. I loved seeing him up at the podium, and he so enjoyed getting to do it.