Black History Month 24
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Marsha Mockabee didn’t mean to become an influence in the lives of hundreds of Cleveland-area youth — there was a time when she was perfectly happy selling communications services in the corporate world.

But then, she also never intended to become CEO of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, either.

Today she’s happy about the unexpected turns her life has taken, and thankful for her opportunity to give something back. It fits well with her sense of responsibility, instilled in her by good parenting and her own religious faith.

“It’s absolutely come from my strong faith in God,” Ms. Mockabee says of her success. “I believe that to whom much is given, much is required.”

Her journey began in earnest when the phone industry was reorganized in 1985, and she left what was then Ohio Bell “increasingly dissatisfied with the corporate track” on which her life had been.

So, instead of looking for another corporate gig, she went to work for Case Western Reserve University. She thought she would be spending most of her time with adults, recruiting them to serve as mentors for youth, but she soon was asked to work with children instead.

She didn’t think she would like it. She loved it.

“I went in and I was absolutely transformed. I just loved the transparency and honesty of the young people,” she says.

Soon she was not only working for youth programs, but running them, first for Case Western Reserve and then for the Urban League, which she joined in 1991.

Today, she runs the entire organization, including all its youth programs that help educate, train and prepare 400 to 500 area students a year.