NEWARK, NJ — Audible, the world’s largest provider of audiobooks, is launching a new initiative focused on advancing equality, racial justice and economic empowerment, and has hired Aisha Glover, President and CEO of Newark Alliance as vice president of Urban Innovation, according to the company. 

Glover will step down from her CEO position at the Newark Alliance in early October.

The Global Center for Urban Development, which will be based in Newark, is an expansion of Audible’s community and economic initiatives that will include programs and policy goals, according to a press release. The Center will be headed by Glover and Abhinav Mathur, senior vice president of Global Customer Service at Audible.

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Audible Founder and CEO Don Katz said the Center is designed to embed the company more deeply with government, community organizations and corporate partners to roll out programming that serves local populations.  

“With the Global Center for Urban Development, Audible aims to draw upon global best practices, cutting-edge analysis and elite talent to amplify its impact in Newark and beyond by establishing new paradigms that advance equitable development in cities everywhere,” Katz said. 

The Center will merge existing projects with new programs created between Audible, local governments and community groups. In Newark, endeavors like Newark Working Kitchens, which has reopened 25 local restaurants and delivered more than 440,000 meals to underserved Newarkers, would fall under the umbrella of the new venture. 

Glover is noted for leading the “Hire Buy Live” initiative during her tenure at Newark Alliance, which secured employment for more than 2,000 Newakers, increased local procurement spend with small businesses and forged a pathway for local residents to become homeowners. In 2020, Newark Alliance became the landbank institution for the city, driving forward landmark legislation that allows Newark to restore and sell blighted properties through the nonprofit corporation. 

“We are at a critical juncture in Newark and in many cities around the world. We’ve seen how corporations are beginning to step in to fill the gaps to help drive equity, and with Audible’s leadership and backing, the Global Center for Urban Development will be at the forefront to create a new type of urbanism,” Glover said in a statement.

Mayor Ras Baraka applauded both Audible and Glover for stepping forward with the initiative. In the past, Audible has also launched programs that provide internships to Newark high school students and offered tax incentives for its employees to live in the city. 

“I commend Audible for embracing its role in Newark, advancing its economic and social impact and investing in and launching initiatives that are aligned with my vision for an inclusive and equitable city,” Baraka said.. “Aisha is the perfect leader to continue this work from within Audible on behalf of the City’s residents and small businesses. We need all corporations to take an active role in helping to accelerate our recovery.”