How We See CLE: Evie DuVernay

How We See CLE is a monthly series showcasing the Cleveland Leadership Center staff’s unique perspective and knowledge of our city. 

Evie DuVernay, Director of Look Up To Cleveland

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard? 
Someone once told me, “a comfort zone is a wonderful place to live, but nothing ever grows there” and those words stuck with me. It’s imperative that we all step outside of our comfort zones to learn, explore, and get uncomfortable enough to make positive changes in ourselves and our communities.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Working with our next generation of leaders is an absolute privilege. They have fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, unparalleled optimism, and a palpable passion to create positive change. I find their energy infectious and I know and have seen that every bit of investment I make into them renders an invaluable return for the whole of the greater Cleveland community and beyond.

What change do you hope to see in CLE within the next 5 years?
I hope to see younger leaders, emerging leaders, and leaders who don’t echo the status quo be authentically regarded as leaders, listened to, respected, and leading our community forward. I think it’s imperative that our leadership looks like and is representative of our actual community. I believe that when we, as a community, are willing to embrace new voices and their message we will see long overdue changes for the better take place.

Do you have a favorite charity you wish more people knew about?
I absolutely admire the work of The Cleveland Kids Book Bank and Seeds of Literacy. Literacy is foundational for success and 66% of Cleveland residents are functionally illiterate (below a 4th grade level) and some Cleveland neighborhoods have an illiteracy rate as high as 95%. These organizations are leading the charge in addressing this community issue that has a large scale impact on all residents of the region.

What one place do you think everyone in Cleveland (residents and visitors alike) should visit?
As a fervent music lover, I would have to say The Beachland Ballroom and Tavern in the Waterloo Arts District is a must visit. This is a legendary music venue that hosts a variety of both renowned and emerging musicians. There is something for every music lover and if music isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy amazing food and a fun vintage shop in the basement.

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