Nikki Purvis has been named the new president and chief executive officer of the Milwaukee-based African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, the chamber’s board of directors announced Thursday.
"We are thrilled Nikki will take the helm of the chamber," said Dr. Lia Knox, chair of the chamber’s board and CEO ofKnox Behavioral Health Solutions. "Nikki emerged from a rich pool of highly qualified candidates, and we feel fortunate to have her. The chamber board is confident she will take us to amazing new heights while sustaining the organization's significant growth and impact."
Purvis replaces Ossie Kendrix Jr., who continued to serve as the chamber’s president and CEO after moving to Dallas in 2020 until earlier this year when he started a new role with a Dallas-based nonprofit organization and began serving the chamber in an advisory role.
Purvis previously worked for the city of Milwaukee for 13 years, most recently as the city’s inaugural chief equity officer, overseeing the Office of Equity and Inclusion, a post she held for about a year and a half. Before that, she was small business development director for more than 11 years in the city’s Office of Small Business Development. She provided strategic direction and oversight for the city's small business enterprise business inclusion program, which promotes economic development for small, disadvantaged businesses.
"I am honored and excited to bring my experience and vision to the chamber," said Purvis."Whether it is community relations, economic development, or small business advocacy, the chamber’s mission is to provide strategic direction, create a shared vision of development, and increase relationships through networking and quality interactions. Business owners that thrive in today's environmentintentionally engage, network, and partner with other business owners, fellow entrepreneurs, and organizations like the chamber. In this next chapter, my vision is to lead the chamber to support its members in recovering and excelling from the economic impacts of the pandemic and reentering an era of growth and success."
Purvis is a native Milwaukeean who received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Marquette University in 2000 and a master’s degree in business administration and management from Cardinal Stritch University in 2003.
Purvis's start date leading the chamber is Aug. 15. Kendrix will continue to consult the chamber and onboard Purvis.