How Challenging Racism Creates Thriving Communities with Alicia Jones McLeod


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How can you stand up against the inequities of institutionalized and systemic racism in your community, and in the world at large?

In the inaugural episode of the Thriving Voices podcast, Thrive’s Executive Director, Andrew Schneider, talks with Alicia Jones McLeod, Executive Director of Challenging Racism, to discuss how they provide people with the tools and resources to disrupt racism in their communities.

Ms. Jones McLeod comes to Challenging Racism from the Ellicott City Partnership where she led a “Main Street” organization responsible for marketing the area as a destination for shopping and dining. Prior to that, she founded the Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce, which continues to raise the profile of black-owned businesses. Her tenure at each of her employers has been marked by the implementation of innovative ideas designed to raise the organization’s profile and draw new supporters to its work.

In this episode, Andrew and Alicia discuss:

  • How COVID impacted Challenging Racism’s programs;
  • What types of experiences helped Alicia to prepare for her Executive Director position;
  • How to recognize your privilege and use it for good;
  • The number one thing Alicia has learned since being at Challenging Racism;
  • What Alicia has learned about her community’s relationship with racism;
  • How to balance self-care and care for your community; and
  • How power dynamics affect equity.

What Alicia thinks it takes for a community to fully thrive?

  • Compassionate Leadership
  • A clear plan of action

How do you help your community to thrive?

  • Offer what you are passionate about
  • Find an organization that you can apply your passion to

More About Alicia Jones McLeod and Challenging Racism

Ms Jones McLeod is a resident of Pikesville, Maryland and brings deep relationships on the Maryland side of the river to Challenging Racism’s work. She has a B.S. in Marketing from Kean University, New Jersey, and is in a Masters of Public Administration program at the University of Delaware, with a concentration in non-profit management. She and her partner are the parents of three children, Richard (27), Alyssa (21) and Amanda (20).

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