Danielle Moss Lee, Ed.D.
Chief Executive Officer
YWCA of the City of New York, New York, N.Y.
Poet Mary Oliver asked, “What are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?”—a question never far from Danielle Moss Lee’s mind. And so in 2012, when she joined the YWCA of the City of New York, one of the nation’s oldest nonprofits dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, she was joining what she saw as “a place where I could marry the things I care about — equality, identity, education, community and economic opportunity.” Under her leadership as president and chief executive officer, YW now offers a speaker series for professional women, a girls’ leadership program, STEM education for girls and young women, and increased advocacy for girls and women in New York City.
“I would like to be remembered as a student-teacher… someone who taught others what I knew so that their way could be made easier; and someone who, in her quest to discover all of life’s possibilities, was always willing to learn something new along the journey,” she muses.
Previously, as president and CEO of the Harlem Educational Activities Fund, Moss Lee turned that institution into a leading-edge college preparatory and youth leadership organization with such community impact that Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative awarded her its Neighborhood Builder title in 2008. The College Board recognized her work in 2010 and 2011.
Moss Lee earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature and history, with emphasis on Black studies, from Swarthmore College; master’s and doctoral degrees in education from Teachers College Columbia University; and certificates in nonprofit management from Columbia Business School and Harvard Business School.
She is president and chair of the board of directors of Black Agency Executives, and a member of the Advisory Council of the New York Coalition of 100 Black Women and of the Swarthmore College Board of Managers.