Dr. Roslind Blasingame-Buford (“Dr. Roz”), named one of Chicago’s “35-under-35” Community Leaders by the Community Renewal Society and a “Leading Lady” by “O,” The Oprah Magazine, has a history of empowering youth and communities through quality, asset-based after-school and enrichment programs. She was the first female Executive Director for BUILD, Inc., a youth development agency that engages gang-affiliated and other highly at-risk youth, in the schools and on the streets, so they can realize their educational and career potential and contribute to the stability, safety and well-being of our communities. She has been instrumental in reshaping the culture and structure of the organization by developing the “BUILD Model,” which links all programs and services to create a holistic, team-based approach to ignite change and impact growth among participants.
Dr. Roz’s motto is “the most important thing that you can give someone, is a chance” and she works diligently to ensure that all youth she interacts with recognize their ability to reach their full potential. She provides honest feedback, encourages personal growth and respects diverse viewpoints. She looks for teachable moments in the full spectrum of daily life experiences and encourages others to do the same. Dr. Roz’s sense of urgency for change is deeply rooted in Chicago, but also goes beyond Chicago to reach out to youth and practitioners across the state and throughout the nation. She has been a widely sought after thought leader and expert in various topics including, but not limited to: nonprofit leadership and management, fundraising, strategic planning, board development, program design and evaluation, and youth development. She also has expertise in organizational development, human resources, education, violence prevention, restorative justice and workforce development. Dr. Roz serves in an advisory or leadership capacity, for more than 10 councils or coalitions, such as: University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy, City of Chicago Community Development Advisory Council (CDAC) and National Afterschool Alliance, to name a few.
Dr. Roz is a graduate of Chicago State University, has a Master of Science in Human Services Administration from Spertus College, and holds a Doctorate in Education from National-Louis University. Most recently, she was selected as a Fellow in the inaugural class of Chicago Urban Leagues’ IMPACT Leadership Development Program. She also has a self-published book, The Blueprint: Strategies for BUILDing A Culture of Excellence, in which she shares real-world experiences, insights and applications for nonprofits and businesses alike. She is married to Marques Buford, Sr., and they have two sons: Marques, Jr. and Mario.