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The New York Urban League Announces Board Chair and Four New Directors

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

The New York Urban League Announces the Appointment of 

Ward Corbett Founder and Managing Partner of Catalyst Partners as Board Chair 

and Four New Directors:

Douglas F. Eisenberg, A&E Real Estate

Malcolm Ellis, Diageo

Barrington Rutherford, Crespo Labs

Helen C. Shelton, Finn Partners

NEW YORK CITY, (September 3, 2020) – Arva Rice, President & CEO of the New York Urban League (NYUL) is pleased to announce that the civil rights organization, founded in 1919, has appointed Ward Corbett, Founder and Managing Partner of Catalyst Partners, as Board Chair and four new directors: Douglas F. Eisenberg, A&E Real Estate; Malcolm Ellis, Diageo; Barrington Rutherford, Crespo Labs, and Helen C. Shelton, Finn Partners.

For over 100 years, the New York Urban League has led efforts, advocated for policies, and implemented programs that have lifted and empowered the Black community, adapting in each decade to new challenges and opportunities. NYUL has inspired, influenced, and ignited over one million Black people to achieve their highest aspirations, enabling African Americans and other underserved communities to secure a first-class education, economic self-reliance, and equal respect of their civil rights through programs, services, and advocacy.

Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League, said, “I am thrilled to bring on directors with expertise in real estate and development, technology and public relations as we take on remodeling our headquarters and expanding our offerings in STEAM.” 

“We are in the midst of a health and economic crisis and an awakening around racial justice. NYUL is poised to partner with corp, community, and others to create more equitable workplaces. I am pleased and honored to be at the helm at such a historic time in our country and the Centennial year for the organization,” said Ward Corbett, Founder and Managing Partner of Catalyst Partners.

About Ward Corbett, Founder and Managing Partner of Catalyst Partners Ward Corbett is the Founder and Managing Partner of Catalyst Partners. Catalyst Partners is a private hedge fund sponsor focused on seizing opportunity by allocating capital to areas offering the best risk/reward ratio at any given time to optimize returns while appropriately securing investor capital. The Fund’s global macro investment strategy is primarily oriented towards equities, interest rates, commodities, currencies, and other asset classes are employed where appropriate. Mr. Corbett is involved in all aspects of the business. Ward focuses his efforts on portfolio management, business strategy, fund operations, marketing and investor relations, overall macro analysis, and maintaining the highest level of confidentiality with respect to client information. Ward is an active member in his community, having served as a board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Mount Vernon, New York. Mr. Corbett also has served on a committee for Shared Interest a philanthropic organization investing in the future of South Africa. Ward serves as a Council Member of the Brookings Institution, a non-partisan think tank and Mr. Corbett currently serves as Chair of the board of the New York Urban League. Ward is a member of the working group for the UN PRI Hedge Fund Industry Guide for Responsible Investments. Ward believes in taking both a local and a global approach. He is a graduate of Howard University and Harvard Business School – LFO Leadership in Financial Organizations.

About Helen C. Shelton, M.S., Senior Partner – Finn Partners.

Helen Shelton is an award-winning lifestyle communications strategist with particular expertise in the luxury, arts and culture, retail, spirits and wine, hospitality and health categories. She is known for creating branded entertainment and cause-related platforms that yield tangible results. At Finn Partners, Helen also oversees the agency’s award-winning Diversity and Inclusion program, Actions Speak Louder. A native New Yorker, Helen holds a B.A. degree in art history from Dartmouth College and an M.S. in communication from Boston University.  Named one of the 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal magazine, Helen is one of 40 PR executives of color featured in the seminal book, Diverse Voices, and regularly writes about multicultural marketing and DEI in industry trades, most recently PR News and Triple Pundit. She has served as a Board Member of the Public Relations Society of America’s New York Chapter, where she was VP of Marketing for two consecutive years. She is an active member of the Greater New York Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, where she is Chair of the Arts Facet and oversees communications for the Chapter. In this capacity, she helps advance awareness of the organization’s volunteerism and charitable work in STEAM Education, domestic violence and other critical issues facing communities of color. Her enthusiasm, integrity and commitment to using her position to uplift and benefit diverse communities are the principles that have guided her throughout. In her spare time, Helen enjoys Italian cinema and literature.

About Douglas F. Eisenberg, Founder and CEO of A&E Real Estate

Mr. Eisenberg is the Founder and CEO of A&E Real Estate. He is responsible for all major decisions across all aspects of the Firm, including operations, acquisition sourcing, financing, capital improvement programs and dispositions. He participates in the strategic direction of the company as a member of the executive and management committees and chairs the firm’s investment committee. Mr. Eisenberg holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Cornell University and a Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School, where he was an Editor of the Brooklyn Law Review.  Mr. Eisenberg has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Trinity School and is currently a member of the Board of The Citizens Committee for New York and the New York Junior Tennis League.

About Malcolm Ellis, Global Director, Technology Architecture and Strategy, Diageo

Malcolm Ellis has spent 23 years working in Fortune 500 companies ranging from Financial Services, Biotech, Manufacturing, and Consumer Packaged Goods. Malcolm is currently responsible for Technology and Business Transformation at Diageo. His team influences an annual budget of 250M working with Finance and the Program Management Office to create alignment in the Investment Portfolio. Their mandate and goal are to provide stable and secure Operations across 180 countries while enabling the Business to grow. His team of IT Architects define Cyber Security Architecture, Cloud Strategy, and Data Governance Technology road maps. In 2018 he was asked to build a team to create a Digital Marketing Platform with Marketing Effectiveness and Marketing Efficiency Programs to enable the business to get better consumer insights and real time customer analytics.  In response to the Covid19 pandemic, Malcolm’s team created and designed solutions for all employees to work remotely and safely around the world with two weeks. Advocacy and social justice runs deep in Malcolm’s family. His father although a World Bank Executive was deeply committed to the investment of underdeveloped countries especially the Caribbean and Africa. He penned the loan forgiveness program as rising nations were saddled with interest payments that stifled their growth. His mother as English professor was submerged with women’s’ equality work in the 70’s when it wasn’t fashionable for a black woman. His sister has lived in Africa for 17 years working for NGO’s which include The Gates Foundation, The Clinton Foundation and the International Development Bank. Malcolm’s advocacy started at the Boy and Girls club while at Howard University to his current adult life which includes  Chair of AHEAD (African Heritage Employees at Diageo) where, as part of a team of 3,  built and launched the inaugural Supplier Diversity Program that delivers now in 4 years 180M to diverse suppliers at Diageo. He is also a member of the Diageo Multicultural Marketing Advisory Group.

About Barrington Rutherford SVP Real Estate and Community Integration, Crespo Labs As Cresco Labs’ Senior Vice President of Real Estate and Community Integration, Barrington Rutherford’s work on real estate and community integration has supported the company in the growth of its operations from one state to 12. Under Barrington’s leadership, his real estate team has successfully negotiated numerous real estate transactions that’s led to prime locations for the company’s cultivation, manufacturing and dispensary locations, ultimately generating an annual revenue of over $43 million (2018). In a highly regulated industry where each state’s cannabis program has a different and precise requirement for operation, Barrington ensures that all the company’s locations are compliant with local and state regulations. Barrington’s work has been a critical component to Cresco Labs’ growth strategy to be one of the largest vertically integrated US-based cannabis companies.  In addition to overseeing the company’s real estate strategy, Barrington oversees Cresco Labs’ social equity and justice initiatives. Under his stewardship, the SEED (Social Equity & Educational Development) Initiative works hard to ensure that all communities have the skills, knowledge, and opportunity to work in and/or own businesses in the cannabis industry. Barrington community-first strategy has his team focusing on three main areas: social justice, workforce development and education, and a community incubator program. Through Barrington’s leadership, the SEED Initiative is helping provide opportunities for individuals in communities most negatively impacted by the excessive enforcement of cannabis during the War on Drugs.  Barrington is proud to have served on Board of Directors of several community organizations in and around the Chicago area. In 2019, Barrington was elected Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association; and to the Board of Directors of the Minority Cannabis Business Association.

About New York Urban League For over 100 years, the New York Urban League (NYUL) has led the way in the education, employment, and empowerment of underserved African-Americans across the five boroughs of New York City. During this time, we are proud to have inspired, influenced, and ignited over one million Black people to achieve their highest aspirations. NYUL remains a vital resource for our city’s African-Americans and other underserved groups. We invest to transform the lives of over 8,000 families each year by providing quality higher education options, economic opportunity, and community engagement. About New York Urban League Relief Fund NYUL’s Relief Fund for African American children and families provides direct cash grants to assist with rent, utilities and other bill payment during the pandemic. Cash grants of up to $1000 to families and college students affected by COVID-19 will be made available to NYUL education and employment clients and Whitney M. Young, Jr. college scholarship recipients.  NYUL has undertaken the role of providing information to dispel myths and untruths about the coronavirus by hosting a series of Virtual Town Halls with local, state and federal officials, civil rights leaders and medical professionals. Visit and Contact: Lisa Skriloff (for the New York Urban League) Multicultural Marketing Resources, Inc. 212-242-3351, Press: To request interviews or photos, please email or simply reply to this email and provide your contact information and request.

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