After more than a decade of shaping students in Milwaukee’s central city neighborhoods, Bob Dunn, president and CEO of Our Next Generation Inc., has retired and turned the nonprofit over to newly appointed leader La Toya Sykes.
Dunn, who joined Our Next Generation in 2003 after 12 years as president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Milwaukee Inc., officially retired on Oct. 15. While he originally planned to stay onboard for another year or two, some minor health concerns, along with a need for fresh leadership, prompted him to reconsider.
“To me, the agency is poised for dramatic growth, and I thought, ‘At my age, can I see that through?’” said Dunn, who is 67.
Our Next Generation emerged out of a group of volunteers who banded together in the 1990s to tutor and mentor youth in the central city. Today, the organization provides a spectrum of programs focused on academic support, career exploration and personal development for students in pre-K through 12th grades.
Dunn’s successor, Sykes, comes to the organization with experience in education and college access initiatives. Sykes, who spent her childhood in Milwaukee, most recently served as managing partner of Milwaukee consulting firm Dampeer & Canady LLC. She is also board president of Lead2Change Inc., a Milwaukee-based nonprofit and youth leadership organization.
Her career has also included serving as associate director of College Goal Sunday and director of outreach and access awareness for Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates.
Sykes said at the top of her priorities is a focus on continuing to elevate Our Next Generation’s profile and a commitment to ensuring students are aware of all of their options.
“I just want to help our kids see the possibilities,” she said. “I want to get them to the next level, and I want to demonstrate to them that that is possible.”