Evanston woman, SESP alumna appointed Cradle to Career executive director

Stephanie Kelly, City Editor

The Evanston Cradle to Career initiative has appointed an executive director to begin mid-February, Cradle to Career announced Monday.

Sheila Merry (SESP ’77), an Evanston resident, will be the executive director of Cradle to Career, an initiative that hopes to have all Evanston young adults leading “productive lives” by the age of 23, according to a news release. Cradle to Career has 27 organizational partners, including local organizations, schools and businesses. Merry was chosen above nearly 50 other candidates, it said.

“Critical to successful collective impact models is thoughtful planning, relationship building and creation of a common agenda, all of which requires sophisticated planning among stakeholders,” said Marcia McMahon, the regional chief professional officer of United Way North-Northwest, a partner of Cradle to Career, in the news release. “Sheila demonstrates the skills needed to continue to move Cradle to Career forward on all of these fronts.”

Merry, who will officially start Feb. 16, has worked in various organizations that focus on youth, including the nonprofit Illinois Mentoring Partnership, the Jane Addams Juvenile Court Foundation and Chapin Hall Center for Children at University of Chicago, according to the Cradle to Career news release.

“With Sheila’s leadership and the commitment of all the partners and our community, Cradle to Career will be a game-changer in Evanston as we work collectively on behalf of all our youth so they have positive life outcomes,” said District 202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon in the news release.

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Previous stories on this topic:

    Cradle to Career initiative searching for top positions
    ‘Game-changing’ initiative aims to shape entire Evanston community