Dianna Houenou Will Join Nearly 900 Nationally to be Trained as Millennial Change-Makers

EAST ORANGE, N.J. – New Leaders Council New Jersey, the local chapter of the nation’s leading organization for progressive Millennial thought leadership and skills-based training, announced today the selection of Dianna Houenou as a 2018 NLC Fellow.  Houenou, an East Orange resident,  will join 21 fellows throughout New Jersey this winter and spring in skills-based trainings to prepare her to be the changemaker of the future. 

“New Leaders Council New Jersey is thrilled to welcome Dianna Houenou to our growing cohort of local changemakers and community members,” said Katie Brennan, Director of New Leaders Council New Jersey. “All our new fellows are already exemplary members of New Jersey, through the NLC Institute, they will be provided the skills, training and network to focus their efforts on real and systemic change for New Jersey and for our country.” 

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Dianna Houenou serves as Policy Counsel for the ACLU of New Jersey. In that role, she conducts legal and policy analysis related to the ACLU-NJ’s advocacy campaigns and public policy goals. Her work focuses primarily on criminal justice reform issues, including police practices and immigrants’ rights. She facilitates ACLU-NJ coalitions, particularly Newark Communities for Accountable Policing (N-CAP), which advocates for meaningful lasting police reform, and New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform (NJUMR), which advocates for marijuana legalization as a matter of racial and social justice.

Dianna also lobbies state and local lawmakers, encouraging them to support measures that protect people’s rights and enhance people’s access to justice. She is also responsible for delivering testimony at public hearings, organizing public engagement events, and facilitating know-your-rights presentations.

Before working with the ACLU-NJ, Dianna worked as a jury consultant assistant and as a volunteer attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina's Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative. She holds a B.A. in Chemistry and Afro-American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a JD from UNC School of Law. While in law school, Dianna participated in the Youth Justice Clinic, where she defended youth in delinquency and disciplinary proceedings in juvenile courts. She has interned with UNC Center for Civil Rights, BPI Chicago, and North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 

Read more about Houenou and all NLC NJ fellows here: www.newleaderscouncil.org/new_jersey_2018_fellows. 

Houenou will join the national class of nearly 900 fellows in 50 NLC chapters across the country.  Nationally, the new Fellows class self-identified as is the most diverse in the organization’s history with 63 percent non-white, 61 percent female, and 17 percent LGBTQ+.  

“NLC is proud to announce its largest and most diverse cohort yet.  In 50 cities and states, our fellows will be driving change in their communities and their workplaces,” said Mark Riddle, President, New Leaders Council. “These nearly 900 individuals are the future of our country, ensuring a more progressive and prosperous future.”  

The NLC Institute is a six-month training program focused on skills transfer for each cohort on issues such as entrepreneurial goal setting, strategic communications and digital outreach, economics, finance and fundraising, management and coalition building, progressive policy, and diversity and inclusion.

Chosen fellows went through a rigorous, locally-driven selections process including an application with an essay component and an in-person interview.  Roughly 25 percent of those who applied to the Institute were accepted nationally. 

NLC Fellows are paired with a mentor who is a professional in their field. Through the mentorship program, Fellows are exposed to successful individuals who are committed to supporting the next generation of progressive leaders. 

NLC Fellows are civic, social, and business entrepreneurs who lead the charge on the ground to solve the most critical challenges facing our communities.  NLC’s Capstone Project, a cornerstone of our Institutes, challenges Fellows to identify a project that captures their passion, fills a need in the community, and leverages the skills NLC provides through the Fellowship in order to come up with a plan to address it head on. This is where NLC’s training effectively comes to life.

New Leaders Council New Jersey graduated its first cohort of Fellows in 2011 and has since provided skills-based, leadership training for more than 125 New Jerseyans.  NLC NJ alumni are leaders in business, nonprofit and government, among others, with nine alumni currently holding public office from school board to freeholder. NLC NJ is supported by Honorary Co-Chairs Senator-elect Troy Singleton and Patti McGuire of Princeton Public Affairs Group and a robust Advisory Board of New Jersey leaders. 

Once this class of fellows completes the Institute in June 2018, they will join NLC’s robust alumni network of nearly 6,000 changemakers nationwide. 

New Leaders Council (NLC) is a 501(c)(3) and is the leading training program for progressive Millennials. NLC equips our leaders with the skills to run for office, manage campaigns, create starts ups and networks of thought leaders.  NLC leaders take their activism back into their communities and workplaces to impact progressive change. 

NLC has 50 chapters across the country in red and blue states with nearly 6,000 alumni. NLC is a true reflection of the Millennial generation with 57 percent of our NLC community as non-white and 53 percent women.  NLC is one of the few organizations focused on building a new governing coalition.

Follow New Leaders Council on Facebook and on Twitter.  To learn more about the NLC, visit www.newleaderscouncil.org.