We’re a group of passionate individuals working
to help build tomorrow’s workforce.
Margrit Allen is the Executive Director of Urban Alliance in Detroit, where she oversees regional operations and programming. Margrit also serves as an Aspen Institute Economic Opportunity Fellow.
Margrit served as the founding Detroit Director for the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) in 2018 where she spent the last two years launching and stabilizing the first Michigan presence of the nation’s largest reentry workforce development organization. Concurrently, she also has led the work of MA Workforce Solutions, her consultancy that specializes in nonprofit strategy and capacity building. Margrit’s human service career launched with teaching in Detroit’s public schools and subsequently expanded to various school support and leadership roles; serving as a School Administrator for an alternative vocational high school for older youth. While in this role, she also managed the operations of an Adult Education and Work Readiness program and coordinated the summer youth employment program.
Margrit is the product of Detroit Public Schools, a Cass Technical High School graduate who holds degrees from Marygrove College and the University of Detroit Mercy, and possesses Six Sigma Green Belt, Career Development Facilitator, and Project Management Professional training. Margrit is a Legacy Detroiter, the parent of two sons, enjoys writing, and studies holistic medicine and astrology in her free time. She is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals.
Azhar Aboubaker joined Urban Alliance as a Detroit region Program Coordinator in October 2019. Prior to joining Urban Alliance Azhar spent two years tutoring both college and high school students and assisting high school seniors with college preparation.
A Detroit native with experience in community-based initiatives, she has worked on creating access to opportunity for students from under-resourced communities by organizing college tours and assisting with job applications. Azhar Aboubaker received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and International Studies from the University of Michigan.
Julia Blok joined Urban Alliance in September 2019 as the Detroit region Program Director. A founding member of Detroit’s Teach for America Alumni Board, she also serves as an English Language Arts content specialist, and instructional coach for Teach for America Corps members. Julia brings with her years of experience as a professional educator. Before joining Urban Alliance she worked as a program director, instructional coach, and secondary English teacher. Julia received her bachelor’s degree in English Language & Literature from Grand Valley State University in Detroit.
Alumni Services Director
Charlene Donelson joined Urban Alliance in January 2021 as the Director of Alumni Services for the Detroit region. Prior to joining Urban Alliance, Charlene worked as a program manager and youth development specialist. She brings years of experience in education, youth development, workforce training, juvenile justice, and event management.
A proud lifelong Detroiter, mom of two and a graduate of Detroit School of Arts high school and Golightly Career and Technical Training Center, Charlene holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from University of Detroit Mercy.
Simone Porter joined Urban Alliance as a Detroit Region Program Coordinator in November of 2020. Simone was formerly a program coordinator at a nonprofit agency that worked with survivors of domestic violence. She worked directly with volunteers and interns to support agency departments, as well as plan and implement program initiatives and events. Working with college freshmen as a residential advisor for three years, Simone comes with firsthand knowledge on the challenges faced by incoming college freshmen.
Simone holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising with minors in sociology and event planning from DePaul University in Chicago. She hopes to continue using her experience in curriculum facilitation, community relations and interpersonal communication to equip Urban Alliance students for success after high school.