Seanelle Hawkins

Seanelle Hawkins

Power 100 list

Seanelle Hawkins

President and CEO, Urban League of Rochester

seanelle-hawkins-headshot-resizedYears in current role: 1.7

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?

I’ve learned that the most important part of being a successful leader is taking good care of yourself. Self-care is critical to leading the charge, so that I can show up at my best for my team and community.

What’s been your biggest success?

My biggest success has not been the turnarounds performed in agencies that I have I have led; it’s not the successful fundraising campaigns; not even the work to interrupt racism, but the development of my team. I am so proud to help create a culture that is inclusive. An organizational culture that welcomes everyone’s ideas and thoughts. A culture that ensures my team knows that their ideas and visions are welcomed and included in the development of a plan to sustain the organization until the mission is fulfilled. That is my biggest success!

Who have been the biggest mentors in your career?

Essie Calhoun McDavid, Jean Howard, Dr. Fredrick Jefferson, Bill Johnson, Dr. Michael Wischnowski.

What are your hopes for the Rochester community this year?

My desire is that as a community of leaders, we all stay energized to create a more equitable Rochester, eliminating silos, inspired to do this work together, one community seeking positive change.

What do you do to unplug in your free time?

Lately, I’ve been enjoying my new Peloton with a Bravo TV playing in the background. I also enjoy challenging myself to finish reading a book in a day!

This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 100 list for 2021. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at