Dr. Akilah Watkins

Dr. Akilah Watkins is president and CEO of Independent Sector. A 25-year national thought leader, conference speaker, and nonprofit executive, Dr. Watkins’ work began at the age of 14 when she led efforts to convert a vacant lot and abandoned home into a community center in Roosevelt, NY. Since then, she’s served as an executive leader for nonprofits and community development initiatives which includes work with the Obama administration, Center for Community Progress, NeighborWorks America, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Center for the Study of Social Policy. Dr. Watkins is an alumna of the University of Illinois at Chicago where she received her Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology. Dr. Watkins serves on multiple national boards of directors with Grounded Solutions Network, Up for Growth Action, National Housing Conference, and Common Future.