"I talk to myself all the time. Most of the time I’m talking a night or when I’m near a body of water. There is something about water that ignites the creativity in me. When I do talk to myself I affirm myself, remind myself who and whose I am and that I can accomplish what I set out to do." - Dionne L. Grayson

Dionne Grayson

President and Chief Innovation Officer

Dionne L. Grayson is a visionary leader who believes in the power of purpose, preparation, and connecting youth to their passion. Serving as Lead2Change’s President and Chief Innovation Officer, Dionne has dedicated her career to strengthening the organizational capacity of nonprofit organizations, empowering youth, and helping individuals and communities access resources.

Compelled by her passion to see youth manifest into their full potential, Dionne has served youth for more than 20 years. She has consulted with several organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Marquette University, Pearls for Teen Girls, and Future Milwaukee.

In 1996, Dionne volunteered to help develop the Youth in Service Fund. In 2006, Dionne was hired on as a consultant at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation to manage the program. In 2009, Dionne oversaw programming in her role as Senior Program Officer at the foundation. And in 2011, Dionne, along with the help of the Youth Advisory Council, YAC alumni and a transition team, formed Lead2Change, Inc. Through Lead2Change, Inc. and teaching Brick by Brick, a curriculum she developed as part of Dream.Explore.Build., Dionne empowers youth to live their life by design and not by default.

Dionne received her undergraduate degree in Clinical Psychology from Alverno College and her graduate degree in Social Work Administration from UW-Milwaukee.

Up Close and Personal

What are two things that people wouldn’t know by looking at you?

By looking at me you wouldn’t know that I have a secret desire to play the drums, Shelia E style! Additionally, you wouldn’t know that my favorite snack is celery.

As a child, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?

As a child I dreamed of becoming a child psychologist that specifically worked with adolescents. I also wanted to open up a group home for teens.

Do you ever talk to yourself? When and what do you say?

I talk to myself all the time. Most of the time I’m talking a night or when I’m near a body of water. There is something about water that ignites the creativity in me. When I do talk to myself I affirm myself, remind myself who and whose I am and that I can accomplish what I set out to do.

What is something that you didn’t do that you wish you had?

I wish I had learned to play the drums.

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