We’re a group of passionate individuals working
to help build tomorrow’s workforce.

Sherri Davis Chisholm

Executive Director

Sherri Davis Chisholm joined Urban Alliance as its first Detroit Executive Director in April 2019. As Detroit Executive Director, Sherri leads regional strategy, development, and operations, while actively collaborating with leaders across the city to support and build Detroit’s next generation of talent. Sherri came to Urban Alliance after nearly a decade in senior leadership roles at national nonprofits and major school districts driving transformation through strategic planning, organizational effectiveness, and leadership development, most recently as founder and CEO of FreeSpace Consulting Group where she worked to guide and support districts and nonprofit organizations seeking to effect positive change in public education. Previously, Sherri served as Senior Managing Director of Strategy, Talent, and Operations at Teach for America in Atlanta, and as Chief of Staff to the Superintendent of the School District of Palm Beach County. Sherri also worked in program management and evaluation for the Fulton County School Board of Education through the Broad Residency, and as an Education Pioneers Fellow for Bright Star Charter Schools. She started her career in consulting at Deloitte and later at Slalom Consulting.

Sherri is a Detroit native whose early interest in education stemmed from her mother, a Detroit Public Schools Community District teacher and principal. She is also a University of Michigan graduate, and holds a Master of Education with a concentration in public/private partnerships from Harvard University. Sherri also currently serves as a Pahara Institute Fellow.

Azhar Aboubaker

Program Coordinator

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

Program Director

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.

Emily Leonard

Alumni Services Manager

Emily joined Urban Alliance as a Detroit Program Coordinator in October 2018 and became the region’s Alumni Services Manager in August 2019. In this capacity, she guides young people’s academic and professional growth, manages work-site relationships, and delivers youth development curriculum tailored to increase job readiness. Emily liaises between youth participants, and Urban Alliance’s community and job partners in Detroit to ensure strong programmatic outcomes. Emily also serves as a national recruiter and regional diversity board member at Teach For America. Prior to joining Urban Alliance, she held various positions as a high school educator and curriculum development leader in Detroit for six years. Emily earned a B.A. in English Literature with an emphasis on secondary education from Western Washington University, and an M.A. in Urban Pedagogy from the University of Michigan. She maintains a strong commitment to equity, diversity, and youth advocacy.